From: MAKE Magazine

$75 Linux box

Not a bad deal, 500Hhz Celeron, 128MB RAM, 4GB HD Ubuntu pre-installed, just add keyboard/mouse/monitor - Craigslist, eBay, free -- still might be better... [via] - Link.

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From: MAKE Magazine

PC to real world interfacing USB board

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I haven't tried this board yet, $30, looks sweet - "Arduino is an open-source physical computing platform based on a simple i/o board and a development environment that implements the Processing/Wiring language. Arduino can be used to develop stand-alone interactive objects or can be connected to software on your computer (e.g. Flash, Processing, MaxMSP). The open-source IDE can be downloaded for free (currently for Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux)." Link.

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From: OhGizmo!

Microsoft Redesigns The iPod Packaging - A Parody

By David Ponce

Got five minutes? Check out this great video showing someone’s idea of what would happen should Microsoft have a go at redoing the iPod packaging.

It’s funny as hell, and very nicely done.


From: Boing Boing

Video of popped water balloon at 4000 frames per second

Mark Frauenfelder: Picture 9-1 It sure is fun to watch this water balloon get popped with an X-Acto knife. The water stay in the shape of the balloon like it's made from clear Jello. Link (via WFMU's Beware of the Blog)

From: MAKE Magazine

How heavy of an aquarium can your floor support?

Aquarium-Neu-03Kevin writes - "One of the questions that is inevitably asked in every aquarium chat room, newsgroup and bulletin board is "just how large an aquarium can my floor support." Then the answers follow from people who usually use basically correct structural principles to come to often incorrect conclusions. Unfortunately, I then jump into the fray and try to explain in just a few words, what cannot possibly be explained in just a few words. So the result is that no one fully understands my explanation, since it seems contrary to his or her experience. So here is the long winded explanation from some one (me) that has been working as a structural engineer since 1976." Thanks Jason! Link.

From: Boing Boing

Bush speechalist mockumentary

David Pescovitz: This mockumentary about GW Bush's "Presidential Speechalist" is a real hoot. From the video:
Mccraney "You have to understand one thing about the American people. They are not interested in a politician that speaks smoothly or insists on using 'real words.'"
Link (Thanks, Bob Pescovitz!)

From: MAKE Magazine

HOW TO - Turn your $60 router into a $600 router

Adam @ Lifehacker's how to on installing linux on a Linksys WRT54GL - "Of all the great DIY projects at this year's Maker Faire, the one project that really caught my eye involved converting a regular old $60 router into a powerful, highly configurable $600 router. The router has an interesting history, but all you really need to know is that the special sauce lies in embedding Linux in your router. I found this project especially attractive because: 1) It's easy, and 2) it's totally free." - Link.

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From: Hug Me

Political parties...

Are you a Democrat, Republican, or Southern Republican? Here is a little test that will help you decide. The answer can be found by posing the following question:

You're walking down a deserted street with your wife and two small children. Suddenly, an Islamic Terrorist with a huge knife comes around the corner, locks eyes with you, screams obscenities, praises Allah, raises the knife, and charges at you. You are carrying a Glock .40 cal and you are an expert shot. You have mere seconds before he reaches you and your family. What do you do?

Democrat's Answer:

Well, that's not enough information to answer the question! Does the man look poor! Or oppressed? Have I ever done anything to him that would inspire him to attack? Could we run away? What does my wife think? What about the kids? Could I possibly swing the gun like a club and knock the knife out of his hand? What does the law say about this situation? Does the Glock have appropriate safety built into it? Why am I carrying a loaded gun anyway, and what kind of message does this send to society and to my children? Is it possible he'd be happy with just killing me? Does he definitely want to kill me, or would he be content just to wound me? If I were to grab his knees and hold on, could my family get away while he was stabbing me? Should I call 9-1-1? Why is this street so deserted? We need to raise taxes, have a paint and weed day and make this happier, healthier street that would discourage such behavior. This is all so confusing! I need to debate this with some friends for few days and try to come to a consensus

Republican's Answer:

Southern Republican's Answer:

BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! click..... (sounds of reloading). BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! click Daughter: "Nice grouping, Daddy! Were those the Winchester Silver Tips or Hollow Points?


Documents: What to Keep - Where to Store - When to Shred

Ric Edelman, a financial planner, suggests a list of financial/legal documents that you need to keep and what you can shred. He categorizes into five groups: originals you rarely need, originals you sometimes need, other documents, tax documents and investment documents. He suggests for each document on What to Keep, Where to Store, and When to Shred. The list is pretty good reference, especially the “when to shred” column:

The financial services industry certainly produces a lot of paper! Here‚€™s what you need to keep and when you can trash it.
Start by stacking all the paper in one big pile. Check your drawers (home and work), filing cabinets, folders, boxes, glove compartments, even your safe deposit box. Then separate the papers into these five group…

Documents: What to Keep - Where to Store - When to Shred - [Ric Edelman]

From: Boing Boing

Custom-art toilet-paper

Cory Doctorow: Liquid Shirts will print rolls of custom-art toilet-paper in quantities of four rolls or more, starting at $12 each. They suggest putting foreign leaders and stock certificates on the paper, but the possibilities are endless -- skull-and-bones, goatse, the ORLY owl... Link (Thanks, Al!)

From: MAKE Magazine

HOW TO - Make a sparkler & a geek's guide to fireworks

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George writes "Spark it up for the Fourth with your own home brewed sparklers! United Nuclear has the goods you'll need." - Link & Wired has a geek fireworks guide, from detonators to taking photos - Link.

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From: MAKE Magazine

DIY Digital SLR cable release circuit

Peter writes "Here's a hands-on with Jaycar's DIY digital SLR cable release kit, for producing timelapse photography, with a first experiment in photographing dyed melting ice. This is first in a series by my friend Jaymis Loveday called "Timelapse Lab", and he's already learning some things the hard way by experimentation (so we don't have to)!" - Link.

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From: MAKE Magazine

New MAKE forum area - Maker Meetups

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We have a new category, Maker Meetups. Inspired by the great success of MAKE Philly, this is a place where local groups can post discussions related to their events and members. Don't forget to post your meeting information on our events page also! Link.

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From: MAKE Magazine

Origami water bomb

Here's a good origami project - "Need a water balloon but got no balloon? Regular old paper and skills of a fold-ist will have you drenching your foes in no time, with stile to boot." - Link.

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From: MAKE Magazine

Using an Oscilloscope

Osc1Ever wonder what an Oscilloscope is? Or how to use one? Here's a good guide on getting starting "An oscilloscope is easily the most useful instrument available for testing circuits because it allows you to see the signals at different points in the circuit. The best way of investigating an electronic system is to monitor signals at the input and output of each system block, checking that each block is operating as expected and is correctly linked to the next. With a little practice, you will be able to find and correct faults quickly and accurately." Link.

From: MAKE Magazine

Electronics: An online guide for beginners

Here's a *really* old guide to electronics (in web years that is) but there are a couple good starter items in there - "Are you a beginner in electronics? Have you been interested in electronics but never really taken the time to start learning? Are you just starting out but was unable to find any resources on the net that teaches the basics? Are you just curious about what electronics is? " - Link.

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From: MAKE Magazine

Old hard drive orchestra

Kunsthalle2 Small
Old hard drives with sound pickups are powered up and "played" as the hard drives boot, spin, etc. [via] Link with photos and sounds! [Read More] [Comments]

From: Slashdot

NewsWeek Looks at Search Engine Optimization

* * Beatles-Beatles writes to tell us that Newsweeks is taking a quick look at search engine optimization. From the article: "If search-engine rankings are supposed to represent a kind of democracy--a reflection of what Internet users collectively think is most useful--then search-engine optimizers like Fishkin are the Web's lobbyists. High-priced and in some cases slyly unethical, SEOs try to manipulate the unpaid search results that help users navigate the Internet. Their goal is to boost their clients' (and in some cases their own) sites to the top of unpaid search-engine rankings--even if their true popularity doesn't warrant that elevated status."

From: Boing Boing

Fight Club trailer as a romantic comedy

Cory Doctorow: Someone has re-cut Fight Club as a romantic comedy. It turns out that practically any weighty or horrific film can be re-cut as a romantic comedy with enough jaunty "Meet so-and-so!" voice-over and uptempo brass-band background music. It works really well here. Link

From: Randomness

Launching thousands of balls

This is a making of video about my favorite new commercial where sony launched thousands of balls down several San Francisco streets for advertisements about their new Bravia LCD.

Link (Direct) - Link (Reputation Tracking) - Discuss [1] - Reply - Recommend

From: Official Google Blog

Day off for Dennis

From time to time, we like to reflect the world we live in through the logo designs on our home page. These Google 'doodles' are designed exclusively by the original Doodler, Dennis Hwang. Here in the UK, we wanted to let Dennis have the day off and give someone local the chance to get their artwork in front of millions. After a successful pilot competition in 2005, we're pleased to tell you that our 2006 "Doodle 4 Google - My Britain" competition is now open and accepting doodles from pupils ages 4-18 in all schools across the UK.

A panel of experts will judge, narrowing the submissions down to a Top 30 and the public will vote for their favorites. The winning doodle will be hosted on the home page for a day, and also bag the artist a trip for four to the Googleplex in Mountain View, California. To get your (again, UK) school involved, please check out Doodle 4 Google - My Britain.

From: Boing Boing applies for patent on storylines

Xeni Jardin: Here's the abstract on a recently-applied-for and utterly Onion-esque patent titled, Process of relaying a story having a unique plot. It was granted to
A process of relaying a story having a timeline and a unique plot involving characters comprises: indicating a character's desire at a first time in the timeline for at least one of the following: a) to remain asleep or unconscious until a particular event occurs; and b) to forget or be substantially unable to recall substantially all events during the time period from the first time until a particular event occurs; indicating the character's substantial inability at a time after the occurrence of the particular event to recall substantially all events during the time period from the first time to the occurrence of the particular event; and indicating that during the time period the character was an active participant in a plurality of events.
via Groklaw, who says,
They have at last invented a way to destroy all cultural development forevermore. That's an achievement of a sort. (...) Remember, a published patent means it hasn't issued yet. But if you wish to throw up, read about the dreams being dreamed. They are willing to destroy the world's culture for $67,200. Here's Knight and Associates' legal analysis, which they are probably proud of. To me, it's like figuring out how to destroy the planet and all human life on it. What is your responsibility? To implement it, to even tell anyone what you cleverly invented? I know. Knight and Associates would advise patenting it first.

Reader comment: Jim's Polka says:

No patent has actually been granted. So far, he's filed a provisional application for a patent and a non-provisional application. Now that it's been 18 months since he filed the application, the PTO has published it, i.e. made it publicly available. Groklaw, like Slashdot did yesterday, made a mistake in their headline that implied that the patent had already been granted. She does, however, note in the third paragraph that the patent hasn't been granted yet.

As for me, I'm with Groklaw - I'm not persuaded by their legal analysis. But it's too early to get upset with the PTO or the patent system about this. The PTO hasn't even had the chance to reject it yet. On the other hand, I wouldn't mind smacking the idiot who filed the application.

Remember, this is all based off of this guy's press release. I think he's taken advantage of people's prejudices about the patent system to earn himself some easy publicity.

And Stephen Bruce Lindholm says,
Most patent applications are published after 18 months. Knight & Assocs. want to make a business of filing "plot patents." This is their test case, which is why these crackpots are willing to waste a lot of money on it. If they do succeed (in my view, they certainly will not) it would certainly lead to Congressional action to cut back the patent system.
Reader comment: Cheesedog says,
Since this was a provisional patent application, and according to the American Inventor's Protection Act (AIPA), Knight and his buddies can now -- as of yesterday -- extract reasonable royalties from any infringers. Right to Create has the details. Let the litigation begin!


They Serve Coffee! The People They Serve Coffee to‚€¶Get Up and Serve Coffee!

Personally, I have no problem with Starbucks. While I love me some indie coffee, I'm an equal opportunity coffee purchaser. "Oh, you have coffee? I love you. What was this place's name again? Who am I?"

Still, it's funny as shit to see an indie coffee's folks dressing up as zombie Starbucks employees. Absolutely brilliant. I have yet to see somebody take me up on my zombie Smurf idea, but this will do in a pinch.

Found via Boing Boing.

From: Boing Boing

Paintings executed in the dust on a Mini's windscreen

Cory Doctorow:
Austin's Scott Wade uses paint-brushes and his fingers to paint incredibly detailed art-scenes in the dust that accumulates on the windows of his Mini Cooper. The Austin American-Statesman has a small gallery of his finest work -- I love this dogs playing poker repro. My takeaway: anything that looks good in black velvet also works well in windshield dust. Link (via Neatorama)

From: Elonka's Memestreams Page - Subcultures R Us

Palindromic Sums

One of the mathematicians that I met at the NSA crypto conference has a hobby of manipulating palindromic numbers, like squaring them or looking for cases where adding palindromic numbers results in a palindromic sum. This webpage lists some of the things that have been observed.

Link (Direct) - Link (Reputation Tracking) - Discuss [1] - Reply - Recommend

From: Random Good Stuff

Make a cute little gift box out of two Dollar Bills


This box made from two bills. The bills / box can be the gift itself, but it is also just about the right size for a ring box. (Perhaps a dollar-bill ring?)


Tags: , , , , ,

From: Boing Boing

More on crypto and online casinos

Cory Doctorow: EFF Staff Technologist Seth Schoen send in this brief, fascinating primer on the cryptography of secure gambling. This is in response to an earlier post about an online blackjack service that publishes cryptographic hashes of its decks in order to "prove their honesty."
It's odd that they claim that "Multiplayer Blackjack at The Gold Casino is without question the most honest possible Blackjack currently on the planet". The computer science literature has been interested for years in the possibility of making distributed card games fair without special hardware, using only cryptographic protocols.

Rivest, Shamir, and Adleman wrote a joint paper on mental poker, which is great reading, and the literature has continued from there with various improvements and enhancements. This was, as far as I know, the genesis of the cryptographic subfield of "security multiparty computation".

This casino's protocol is _not_ the most verifiably fair known; an enhanced cryptographic "mental poker" protocol would be fairer because it would also prevent deck-stacking. Here is just one random recent example via CiteSeer.

On the other hand, all of the crypto protocols for mental poker seem to require special software just to _play_. This casino requires only a normal web browser to play, but requires special software to audit.

A casino could create a Java applet that implements a fair gambling crypto protocol and lets you play in a regular Java-enabled web browser. They could publish the source code to the applet for audit and also show that the compiler the used produces the exact Java bytecode with the same source file as input. (Or, if players wanted to, they could compile the Java applet for themselves and use their locally-compiled versions.) The source could verifiably include features to detect if the house is cheating. The user interface can be precisely the same as that of the existing web-based casino.

A basic part of the original mental poker problem is how to let two people shuffle a deck so that both of them agree that the deck was fairly shuffled and not stacked. The fact that this casino does not address this problem (but still relies on fancy crypto) suggests that it didn't try too hard to investigate what's known in the literature...

(Thanks, Seth!)

From: Boing Boing

Backstage tours of Walt Disney World

Cory Doctorow: The Washington Post has a great feature on the Backstage Tours at Walt Disney World. I took several of these when I was researching my novel Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, and they were always fantastic. If there's anything cooler than seeing the masterful illusions created in Disney World's parks, it's seeing behind them and watching them being created and maintained.
Our private boat through the venerable Jungle Cruise revealed stagecraft secrets such as the hidden heaters used to warm the tropical plants and the actual words uttered by the animatronic cannibal ("I love disco," believe it or not).

And that doesn't even count such sworn-to-secrecy dish as how they keep the Safari Adventure lions on that viewing rock (air conditioning), what employees really think of certain daily performances ("Cinderellabration, the Loudest Show on Earth") and just who that is in the Mickey costume (a petite woman, most likely).

Link (via The Disney Blog)

From: Boing Boing

How to boost your happiness level immediately: start throwing stuff away

Mark Frauenfelder: If you aren't getting rid of your possesions at the same rate you are acquiring them, your living space is getting more and more cluttered. Clutter depresses me. I love getting rid of junk. Here's a great column by Mark Morford of the SF Gate on the joy of de-gunking your pad.
The cure is simple, so graceful that it will make you feel lighter and healthier and good the minute you start, and of course you can start right now and you don‚€™t even need any drugs or wine or nudity, though those always, always help.

This is what you do: You throw stuff out. You go through your closets and you fill up garbage bags and you even grab stuff you‚€™ve clung to for years for no apparent reason, and you haul it all down to Goodwill or Salvation Army or (in the case of San Francisco) leave the usable stuff out in the street overnight and let the urban recycling phenomenon work its magic, as some lucky passerby scores your old futon and the three grungy frying pans you haven‚€™t used since 1987.

Link (via 43 Folders)

From: Boing Boing

Rooms painted to create 3D trompe l'oeil effects

Xeni Jardin:

Link to photo gallery (Thanks, Siege!)

From: MAKE Magazine

Velcro being pulled apart

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Trazy Anderson has an amazing photo @ 94x magnification of velcro, taken with Nikon SMZ1500 Stereomicroscope [via] - Link.


  • More Microscopy photos - Link.
  • Microscopy photo pool - Link.
  • Poor man's macro - Link.
  • Science pool - Link.

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Teach yourself speed-reading techniques

Keith Drury has written a quick notes on his speed-reading techniques. I think everyone will agree that speed reading is very useful for our life because we can learn more stuff in less time. His advices are really good (and summarized as well). He talks about some reading myths, preparation, rapid reading techniques and retention [...]

From: MAKE Magazine

Make Podcast: Rube Goldberg Machine Advice and Walkthrough

Nate and Jesse give some advice on how to make a Rube Goldberg contraption and Jesse walks us through the entire machine at Earth Sanctuary.


Click here to get the video (MP4) delivered automatically with iTunes. This video will play on PC/Mac/Linux/PSPs and iPod video devices - Link.

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From: OhGizmo!

(Video) Apple Spoof: The iBox

apple ibox spoof

By David Ponce

There’s a bunch of reasons for Apple’s success these past few years, not the least of which being its clean, elegant designs. Of course, that doesn’t mean we can’t poke a little fun at them now and then.

So, come inside for a three minute clip of Apple’s latest would-be product: the iBox. It’s hilarious, believe me.

VIA [TechEBlog]

From: Boing Boing

Moment of vintage Star Wars Zen

Xeni Jardin: You know, I could really use a photo of Darth Vader strangling Elmo right about now: Link. The image comes from a weekly photo caption contest on that features images gathered from fan events and Lucasfilm archives.
(Thanks, Bonnie Burton!)

Reader comment: Joshua Kidd says,

Chewbacca has been making the rounds lately. Here's a pic of him throwing out the first pitch at fenway park. Link
Previously: Moment of vintage Star Wars zen -- Chewie on drums.


Clean Up Your Wires

A few days ago, Lifehacker ran a nice Hack Attack about cleaning up all the cords in your work area. Based on all the comments we received about the USB cord, it seemed a good reason to go back and point people to this illustrated how-to on cleaning up the wires in your work area.

The Cordless Workspace - [Lifehacker]

From: MAKE Magazine

Interfacing the PC's Keyboard...

5PindinCraig guide on PC keyboard interfacing... "Why would you want to interface the Keyboard? The IBM keyboard can be a cheap alternative to a keyboard on a Microprocessor development system. Or maybe you want a remote terminal, just couple it with a LCD Module. Maybe you have a RS-232 Barcode Scanner or other input devices, which you want to use with existing software which only allows you to key in numbers or letters. You could design yourself a little box to convert RS-232 into a Keyboard Transmission, making it transparent to the software." Link.

From: MAKE Magazine

HOW TO - Build an Electrostatic Motor

MotorHere's how to make a very cool motor from a disposable plastic drinking cup, aluminium foil, glue-stick, bamboo or dowel, wire and a non-conducting base, such as a plastic plate or a wooden board. Kiteman writes - "Normal motors are driven by electromagnetic forces. This motor needs no batteries, mains supply or solar cells. Electrostatic motors are turned by the kind of electricity generated by wearing nylon clothes in a modern office. Think of it as gigantic nano-technology as well, because this is how the microscopic motors of nanobots work." Link.

From: Boing Boing

Macrame owl gallery

Cory Doctorow: Here's a gallery of macrame owls, crafty home decor elements that were made by many people suffering from temporary aesthetic blindness in the 1970s. My mom made us a huge macrame owl that hung at the foot of the stairs for years. I loved it. Link (Thanks, Sarah!)

From: Laughing Squid

SRL Documentary Video Premiere Screening & Benefit

SRL Los Angeles

SF IndieFest 2006 is hosting a premiere screening of the Survival Research Laboratories documentary from last April’s SRL show in Los Angeles. This special screening is a benefit for SRL and the money raised will help to offset costs associated with the reloaction of the SRL Shop.

IndieFest will present the public premiere of a version of the Survival Research Laboratories (SRL) documentary of the show that took place in Los Angeles on April 2, 2005. You will be treated to generous demonstrations of flame-throwing! Prepare to witness much manic machine mayhem! Thrill to the destruction of a Trojan Horse! Gaze in wonder at the unrehearsed special guest appearance of the Los Angeles Fire Department! The video shoot was directed by Dave Scardina and edited by Mark Pauline.

After the premiere screening, stick around for a conversation between V. Vale (RE/Search Publications founder), Dave Scardina (the director of the video) and Mark Pauline (founder of Survival Research Laboratories). This will be followed by an audience Q&A session with the panel.

photo credit: Scott Beale (Los Angeles SRL Show, April 2005)

From: MAKE Magazine

Cooking... with your car

Trebuchet03 writes "Using some waste heat in from your engine bay to cook a meal on your way home. After I showed this to a few people, I found out that there is a book called "Manifold Destiny" on this very subject. I have not read it yet, but I'm told that there are quite a few recipe's with locations and times (miles)." - Link.

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From: Boing Boing

What parts of the .COM space are registered?

Cory Doctorow: This is a great roundup of how many of which sort of domain has been taken -- every combination of up to three letters in .COM is taken and there're precious few four-character .COMs remaining. Most of these domains are "parked" and unused. The most popular domain-length is 11 characters, and there are 538 63-character domains registered, including Also in the survey is data about how many of the names found in the US Census are taken (all the male names, all but a few of the female names and all 10,000 of the top surnames). The survey goes on and on, with data on how much of the "" space is taken, which characters are most commonly found at the start of domain names, and so forth. Link (via Waxy)

From: Boing Boing

99-word essay explains Fair Use

Cory Doctorow: Norm sez, "I am in the midst of a 'haiku essay' project: each essay is exactly 99 words long, plus one for the title. With the Sony Rootkit, ubiquitous DRM and plugging the analog hole on everyone's minds, I took this opportunity to make the fair use case in 99 words."
I love music, movies, and books. I also love technology. I want to use technology to deliver the media I love anywhere, anywhen, with anyone.

This is fair use: I bought it, let me use it. I will tell all my friends about my favorite music. I might play it for them or even give them a digital version of a song. This is evangelism, not theft. This is advertising you cannot buy.

Restrictive copyright is like a vegetarian knife. You bought the knife, but if you cut meat with it, we'll sue you. Excuse me? Let's think again.

Link (Thanks, Norm!)

From: MAKE Magazine

HOW TO - Rackmount your gear for cheap

Will's DIY rackmount how-to on Engadget - "Our simple network rack is an easy project that can really clean up a home network installation. Just a few square feet of floor space now keeps our cable modem firewall, Ethernet switch, server, wireless AP, KVM, monitor, keyboard and UPS neatly tucked away -- in a (decently well ventilated) closet, for example. It's also built to support rack mount hardware of shallow depth, like a router (the real kind) or network switch, so if you want to clear off that folding table in the basement, check out today's how-to..." - Link.

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From: MAKE Magazine

HOW TO - Make a (fake) Lava lamp with household ingredients

Here's how to make an Alka-Seltzer version of a lava lamp from stuff around the house - "Have you ever caught yourself hypnotized by a lava lamp? You hold it in your hand, move it slightly while inside the liquid quivers and separates into different shapes, and colors. Then you look at the price tag, and put it back. Fortunately, you can make a simple home-spun version. It won't look exactly like one of those store bought ones, but it will be a fun project and you will learn a thing or two about chemistry while you're at it!" [via] - Link.

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From: MAKE Magazine

MAKE VIDEO PODCAST: Shapelock and Magnets that defy gravity

Bre Pettis with the latest MAKE video! - "In this video Pablos shows me two new materials that makers really need to be aware of. The first is shapelock, a material for making anything. The second material is neodymium, which is a rare earth magnet that defies gravity.

While talking with Pablos, I had a flashback to when I worked as an assistant at Jim Henson's Creature Shop. A mech named Flimsy and I would go troll the hardware stores looking for materials that we could apply to the animatronic gorillas we were making for the movie. One day, Flimsy turned to me in Home Depot and said, "There aren't many new things in the world. You've got to make new things by combining old things." I told this story to Pablos and he added, "And you always have to be on the lookout for new materials." A big thank you to Pablos for sharing his passion for innovation!"

Click here to get the video (MP4) delivered automatically with iTunes. This video will play on PC/Mac/Linux/PSPs and iPod video devices.

[Read More] [Comments]

From: Boing Boing

Maps show which religious group is where in USA

Cory Doctorow:

American Ethnic Geography uses US census Glenmary Research Center data to draw shaded maps of the US that show which religion's adherents live where. Link (via Futurismic)

Update: Chad sez, "I noticed Pastafarianism was unrepresented in this study. I've remedied this."

From: MAKE Magazine

HOW TO - Make a rubber band helicopter

Here's how to make a rubber band helicopter similar to toy that inspired the Wright brothers to build a plane - "It doesn't have a bearing and is therefore very simple to make, however you must have a long bit of split bamboo which must be thin and flexible enough to bend into a loop. Some window blinds are made of suitable material, some are made of bamboo which has been extruded into a round section, this isn't really sufficiently flexible." - Link.

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From: MAKE Magazine

$20 Dry erase board - ElephantStaircase

Cape and Ray sent in their how-to on making a super simple and cheap dry erase board - Link.

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From: Welcome to the Machine...

10 Best Reasons Gay Marriage is Wrong

Passed on from [info]pwhitfield:

10 Best reasons Gay Marriage is wrong

1. Being gay is not natural. Real Americans always reject unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning.

2. Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.

3. Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.

4. Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn't changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can't marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.

5. Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed; the sanctity of Britany Spears' 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.

6. Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn't be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren't full yet, and the world needs more children.

7. Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.

8. Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That's why we have only one religion in America.

9. Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That's why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children.

10. Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven't adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans.

Re-post this if you believe love makes a marriage.

From: Goto Reviews

Picopad: Wallet-Sized Pen and Pad

PicopadA Picopad consists of 15 sticky notes and one tiny pen, that are designed to fit into the credit card slot of your wallet. The pads themselves are made from a cardboard-like material and come in a variety of colors. They feature two small push-out tabs to make it easier for you to pull it out of your wallet. There‚€™s one on the long side, and one on the short side, making it possible to use with top and side loading wallets. See more details in this review by OhGizmo! or on the Picopad home page. They are priced at $3.99 each.

From: Boing Boing

Special words used to designate nuclear attack: PINNACLE/NUCFLASH

Mark Frauenfelder: At Notes from the Technology Underground, Bill Gurstelle has a fascinating entry about the code words the government uses to report a nuclear attack.
“PINNACLE/NUCFLASH” are the flagwords or header that presages an electronic transmission through the U.S. military's command and control structure that reports an actual or possible detonation of a nuclear weapon. Not only that, these code words mean that the explosion was not an accident and the risk of nuclear war is imminent.

As one might expect, “PINNACLE/NUCFLASH” has the highest precedence in the OPREP-3 reporting structure. Men and women train for months, years, in order to be able to coolly and efficiently handle the communications that follow an OPREP-3 PINNACLE level flagword. There are several OPREP-3 code word designators with a chilling cold war/Tom Clancy/John Lecarre ring to them. None of these foreshadow good news.



How to Do Algebra in Your Head

There is a free online book called Inner Algebra provides ways and tricks to solve algebra in your head. This is extremely useful for student (and people who want to impress people). Methods include visualization, chunking, windowing , correspondence. Most of the techniques involve practice your mind to think on steps visually: … There are a [...]

From: MAKE Magazine

HOW TO - Wiring VoIP to your phone jacks

Will has a VoIP wiring guide for folks who went Vonage, etc.... "In today's How-To, we're taking the diagonal cutters to the Ma Bell umbilical cord and hooking up our voice over IP adapter so we can use our old phone jacks. No soldering irons or caustic acid required. This time." - Link.

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VoIP Phone Wiring - Connecting multiple phones to a Vonage connection - MAKE 06 - Page 112.

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From: MAKE Magazine

HOW TO - Use old telephones as an intercom

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Have some old phones laying around? You can turn them into an intercom system, shows you how - "Talking over the phones is easy. You put DC current through the phone and it transmits and receives audio. So two phones and a current source (about 25mA) all in series will give you a talking circuit. A suitable current source can be as simple as a 9V battery and a series resistor whose value is adjusted (with both phones offhook) till about 25mA flows. You can then bypass the battery and the resistor with a capacitor to couple the audio straight across and get a loud and clear connection." Thanks kryten007! [via] Link. [Read More] [Comments]

From: MAKE Magazine

Go paperless with the ScanSnap...

SsaboutHannes writes in with a great product at Macworld for going paperless - "The Fujitsu ScanSnap Mac - It was announced at Apple Expo last September in Paris and I bought one instantly. Within a few afternoons I scanned a few thousand pages (and threw away more than 10000 pages of paper!) and now I have no more paper at home (only books!). All of these pages are now saved as PDF and alltogether use around 800MB, so they easily fit on a 1GB SDcard, that I can view on my MDApro." Link.

From: Boing Boing

Dr Bronner's Soap label-quote generator

Cory Doctorow: The Dr Bronner's Soap quote generator creates random (?) messages that look like they belong on a bottle of Dr Bronner's Soap. Dr Bronner's labels are printed with tiny, psycho messages that read like the ramblings of a paranoid Old Testament prophet.
What an apology we Rabbis owe Israel, Marx, Mao, all mankind, for not teaching Astronomy's great All-One-God-Faith, that with just 6 words eternally unites the human race! As teaches African-shepherd Astronomer Israel for 6000 years, "LISTEN CHILDREN ETERNAL FATHER ETERNALLY ONE!"
Link (via Making Light)

From: MAKE Magazine

Big Blue Saw now has GIF support...

Bluesaw-MedBig Blue Saw turns CAD files, DXF (12) PNG and now GIF files into real parts using state of the art robotic tools. If you design things and want to bring to your creations to the physical world these folks can turn it into steel, aluminum and acrylic. [via] Link.

From: Boing Boing

Pesco on Irene McGee's NoOne's Listening radio show

David Pescovitz: Glamor Headphones Tomorrow night (Friday), I'll be a guest on Irene McGee's terrestrial radio show No One's Listening. This is the version of her show that airs on 106.9 Free FM San Francisco from 11pm-midnight (PST). (Background here.) You can listen to a stream of the station online here, but annoyingly only via Windows Media, plus you have to fill out a silly free reg form. Still, if you're in the area or want to check out the stream, please tune in. You're also invited to join in the madness via phone or email during the live broadcast. You can call in at +1.888.500.1069 or email to Apparently, the show will also be archived as a podcast on the NoOne's Listening site a few days later. Thanks!
Link to 106.9 Free FM, Link to NoOne's Listening

From: Laughing Squid

Meter Pops

Meter Pops

DC street artist and tape sculptor Mark Jenkins has recently converted a series of parking meters into lollipops resulting in a hilarious art installation/prank.

Mark’s previous street art includes tape sculptures in strange locations and positions throughout the city, specifically his Storker Project which involves a bizarre series of tape babies.

Maybe Mark should join forces with San Francisco’s Rebar, who recently converted a parking space into an actual park. I think the Meter Pops would make a nice addition to a future PARK(ing) space.

via: Boing Boing

From: Goto Reviews

Bonsai Tree In A Can

 Bonsai Tree In A CanFrom Japan comes this small but efficient plant. It's a bonsai for an indoor garden on a desktop or a windowsill. The tree can be repotted in a larger pot or outdoors for growing larger. They are $12 each from Branch.

Found via Ecofriend

From: Treehugger

QOTD via Joel Makower


Joel Makower in his blog ::Two Steps Forward, referring to an Inform report regarding the progressive move from diesel to natural gas, for garbage trucks. (QOTD = quote of the day).

From: Cool Tools



A greater selection of mini-sized consumables then your local drug store is likely to stock. Itty-bitty bottles of shampoo, shaving cream, toothpaste, sunscreen, medicines and the like, for travel or camping. [Suggested by Mark Hurst]

-- KK


From: Treehugger

Kreidezeit Casein Paints and Much More


Ever read the side of a tin of paint? Like where it says in bold red ink: Safety Advice. Bet it didn‚€™t include the words ‚€œNot applicable, non-hazardous product. ‚€œ That‚€™s the information provided by Kreidezeit for their line of Casein Full Colour Paints. They go on to say that ‚€œDried residues can be disposed of with normal household litter.‚€ Possibly because all you‚€™ll find on the ingredients list is ‚€œvarious earth and mineral pigments, chalk, talcum, titanium white, casein, borax.‚€ The paints, which come in powdered form, are for application on interior walls and ceilings and are classed as ‚€˜wiping-resistant ‚€™. The suggestion for a ‚€˜washable‚€™ version, known as Tempera, is simply to add 30% Safflower oil. And speaking of oils Kreidezeit do these too for timber finishes. In fact, they also offer Linseed Oil Putty, Lime Wall Finish, Carnauba Wax Emulsion and even Citric Acid. I was put onto them by a friend (thanks Grant), whose strawbale house has internal walls graced by their casein (milk based) paints. Although based in Germany, Kreidezeit export to various other locales, including Australia, Japan and Canada. ::Kreidezeit.

From: OhGizmo!

Innovative Pizza Advertising

Papa John's Pizza Flier (Image courtesy The Raw Feed)
By Andrew Liszewski

Ok so this doesn’t exactly score high marks in the gadget department but in terms of design and innovation it definitely ranks up there on the list. From ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi this new take on the pizza flier is sure to get noticed as long as you glance out your peephole that is.

Looking at the second image there I can only assume that Papa John’s is hoping the novelty of the flier is enough to distract people from the sticker that has been semi-permanently adhered to their nicely finished front door. And thinking back to my many trips to Vegas and the ‘variety’ of fliers that were stuck to my motel door each night promoting local ‘freelancers’ I can only begin to imagine how this idea will be adopted by others.

[Papa John’s Innovative Pizza Flier VIA The Raw Feed]

From: MAKE Magazine

HOW TO - Make can lanterns

TangMu writes "Recycle your used drinks cans into potential fire hazards!! A modern take on the paper lantern... now even shinier" -

You will need:
Any size or shape of drinks can (Preferably unopened as of yet as we need the flat top to balance the tea light on)
Something to put said contents of can in.
Our friend Mr Stanley the Knife.
Pliers (I find Snub nosed easier of this)

Also needed but not pictured:
A small length of wire ~10cm
A tea light (those lil lights in a metal pot)

Link to Instructable.

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From: MAKE Magazine

USB on Rails

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MAKE pal Todbot posted up his slides from Sketching with Hardware, it's good stuff, he writes - "My talk was "USB on Rails". The USB HID standard enables the sending and receiving of arbitrary data-structures ("objects") between a host PC and a device. All without any additional device drivers, since the HID driver is built in to all OSs. Many sketching tools or demos use USB, but introducing them to the unintiated means lots of reboots for driver installs. The title is a silly, but half-serious, take of applying the philosophy of Rails to hardware-to-computer interfacing: solve the common case simply, but allow deviations. More on this later, for now, here's my talk's slides" - Link.

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From: Boing Boing

Analogy explains strength of 128-bit crypto keys

Cory Doctorow: Writing on Dave Farber's Interesting People list, PGP's Jon Callas busts out this lovely analogy about the strength of 128-bit keys used in connection with his cipher.
Modern cryptographic systems are essentially unbreakable, particularly if an adversary is restricted to intercepts. We have argued for, designed, and built systems with 128 bits of security precisely because they are essentially unbreakable. It is very easy to underestimate the power of exponentials. 2^128 is a very big number. Burt Kaliski first came up with this characterization, and if he had a nickel for every time I tell it, he could buy a latte or three.

Imagine a computer that is the size of a grain of sand that can test keys against some encrypted data. Also imagine that it can test a key in the amount of time it takes light to cross it. Then consider a cluster of these computers, so many that if you covered the earth with them, they would cover the whole planet to the height of 1 meter. The cluster of computers would crack a 128-bit key on average in 1,000 years.

If you want to brute-force a key, it literally takes a planet-ful of computers. And of course, there are always 256-bit keys, if you worry about the possibility that government has a spare planet that they want to devote to key-cracking.

The whole post is good and goes on from there to talk about real and possible vulnerabilities in cryptosystems (for example, the government could break into your house and put a keylogger in your computer for a fraction of the cost of attempting to break the crypto). Link

From: Boing Boing

Apple's TV ad's are a rip-off of Postal Service video (no, not really)

Mark Frauenfelder:  Photos Uncategorized Thespunkercomapplejack
Watch the side-by-side video of this Apple commercial and a Postal Service video and marvel at how similar they are. Just co-incidence? Link (thanks, Ben!)

Reader comment: Alan Henry says: "Leander Kahney, Mac fanatic and author of Cult of Mac and Cult of iPod, has been tracking this issue over at his blog, Cult of Mac for a few days now. He's uncovered a lot of interesting information (regardless of the annoying comments) and he's posted on the topic several times. He also plans to update with some more official information in the coming days! Just thought it might be worth letting you know!

"The links to Leander's posts (from oldest to newest) are here, starting on Wednesday Jan 11th, then Friday Jan 13th." Link, Link, Link

Reader comment: Leander Kahney reports that both the ad and the video used the same director. However, it seems that the Postal Service's label had no idea that the directors made a commercial based on the video:

Sarah Moody of Sub Pop Records, The Postal Service's Seattle record company, writes: "... the Apple commercial is indeed very similar, it wasn't licensed in any form, and was made by the same directors as the Postal Service video. We weren't alerted to the fact that it existed until the day it came out."

From: Laughing Squid

Survival Research Labs Show In San Jose

Survival Research Labs

A full-scale Survival Research Labs show is scheduled to take place on August 11th in San Jose as part of ZeroOne San Jose & International Symposium of Electronic Art (ISEA2006) conference which runs August 7th through 13th. Tickets are now available for the show (the capacity is 2000) and funds raised from the show will help with the massive relocation of the SRL Shop. For more info, chec out Violet Blue’s blog.

From the ZeroOne San Jose website:

Some things are purely mythic like Survival Research Labs, which springs from the shell of abandoned buildings, monster robotic history, and fire. An interdisciplinary mash-up like no other, SRL, brings a newly conceived performance to ZeroOne San Jose full of its legendary machines, flame-throwers, and bombastic sound. Humans are only present as audience or operators; in this show it‚€™s all about the machines. As described by founder Mark Pauline, an SRL performance is comprised of ‚€œritualistic interactions between machines, robots, and special effects devices.” Whatever else you call it, (and the title won‚€™t be announced until just before the show), we call it big fun, exciting, and something you won‚€™t want to miss. This one is definitely for more than the brainiac crowd ‚€“ it‚€™s monster machine, meets hovercraft, meets huge sculptural creatures, meets fire.

photo credit: Scott Beale (Shockwave Cannon at the 2005 Los Angeles SRL show)

From: Goto Reviews

Reusable Aluminum Lunch Boxes by Sigg


Sigg is a Swiss company with a reputation for producing quality, non-toxic containers. They makes these lightweight, durable boxes out of anodized aluminum. They have snap lock to keep the lid securely in place, and a rubber seal provides a leakproof closure.

Available from Amazon for $30 or from eBay for $18.99.

From: Treehugger

How to Profit (or not) from Climate Change

sprott.jpgA Canadian investment firm , Sprott Asset Management, has produced a report studying the financial implications of climate change. Conclusions: Economic changes will be just as severe. Watch out for massive commodity price swings and a huge buildup of nuclear capacity. Prepare for hyperinflation and buy gold. Forget about biofuels. "As oil prices surge, the incentive to produce energy from vegetable oils heightens," the authors predict."This in turn is likely to result in the increased cultivation of plants like palm and soybeans, used to make biofuels. When we take into consideration the potential shortages of food crops that may result from an abrupt climate change, it is likely that governments will soon be facing a choice between feeding people and feeding SUVs." :: PDF: Investment Implications of Abrupt Climate Change and if that is too depressing, read ::The Onion.

From: MAKE Magazine

EL wire eye candy

Guerroloco's EL Wirte project is now up on Instructables, he writes - "This project uses electroluminescent wire (a.k.a. "EL wire") to create a glowing, flashing, spinning piece of eye candy that could be used as decoration, a disco light for a dance party, or just for taking cool photos. This is definitely a work in progress.... It started with some strands of EL wire that were leftovers from a project I took to Burning Man 2002 (the Jellyfish Bike -- but that's another story). I started to play around with this stuff to see what I could come up with. I ended up with some very interesting pictures. Folks on Make and Flickr started asking me how they were done, so here it is." - Link.

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From: MAKE Magazine


MenulogoGarageSpin writes "ArtistServer was created by one guy, Gideon Marken. The ultimate DIY musician, he went out and built his own music hosting platform thousands of artists now use. All the music promotion tools are free (blog, podcast, ringtones, mobile sites, downloads, streams, etc), and it was even voted one of the top 5 music hosts by Time! Basically, a DIY musician empowering other musicians with DIY tools..!!" Link.

From: Boing Boing

Livestock auctioneer champions

David Pescovitz: I love the way professional auctioneers sound. These audio clips from the World Livestock Auction Championships of 1963-2005 makes me very happy. Link (Thanks, Vann Hall!)

From: Boing Boing

Mark Jenkins's Meter Pops street installation

David Pescovitz:  40 87355484 595B9E7Bb9 O Mark Jenkins, the Washington, DC-based prankster artist who dropped "tape babies" around the city last year, has taken his surreal genius to the streets again. This time, he wrapped parking meters to resemble lollipops. Welcome to Candyland!

From: MAKE Magazine

Homemade cat drinking fountain

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MAKE Flickr photo pool member Nicrosin writes - "Recently, for some reason the cats have refused to drink from standing water. They meow like crazy until a faucet is turned on. That got old fast. Solution? Build them a drinking fountain! " - Link.

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From: MAKE Magazine

Print Gocco Tutorial

Print Gocco comes from Japan and is one of the best alternatives to silkscreening. You can easily print on paper or fabric with professional quality with this little machine. Here The Small Object shares their recent Gocco purchase with a tutorial on how to get started. We love the final result! Link.


  • Save Gocco (Gocco is being discontinued by it's manufacturer) - Link.
  • MAKE Blog - Printing with Gocco (Oct 2005) - Link.

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Role 3d6 for Personal Development

Any oldschool Dungeons and Dragons readers get that reference? If not, here’s my basic premise: view your personal development like you would character development in role playing games.

  • Capabilities- Some things you are born with, and others can be trained. For instance, strength can be developed to certain end points, but intelligence is something that one possesses a certain degree of, regardless of training. Training becomes more of a skill or toolset, taking advantage of your baseline intelligence. (Do we agree, or do you dispute my characterization of intelligence? - If you disagree, skip it and come back later). Other capabilities can be grown somewhat, like developing your endurance, etc.
  • Skills- Skills are things you learn, such as communication, interpersonal relationship tactics, how to build a LAMP stack repeatably. Skills are an area where you can focus a lot of effort, because they often have a direct reward for advancing your abilities. Learning a second language adds to your potential revenue value. Learning how to appreciate and interact with your family builds emotional strength and good will. Skills are a great area to target.
  • Equipment- Another constant in most role playing games (from paper and card-based games up into World of Warcraft) is the trusty old inventory concept. Do you have armor? Do you have a sword or a dagger? Would a lockpick be useful to you? Stretching this analogy out into personal development, equipment can become: laptops and smart phones for portability, special software to handle scheduling, budget, repeatable tasks, a portable media player to receive learning and information (like the Life Hack podcast).

What if you took your current situation and put it down on paper as if you were a character in a somewhat boring role-playing game? (Let’s face it: Office Wars isn’t a likely replacement title for City of Heroes). How would you characterize your capabilities? Are there any you should consider developing? What skills do you possess? What kind of equipment do you have to do the work at hand?

When you have it all written down, take a look at it. What kind of character are you? How do you stack up against other people in the same game? What capabilities, skills, or equipment could you further develop to build your success rates with your current game?
Expansion Pack

Write down a list of different “games” that you’d want to consider playing. Maybe you’re in software design, but believe you want to start up a company. Does your “character sheet” match the game? What skills should you add? How about in the crossover game of work-life balance? Do you have the skills required to make that all work?

Use this new list matched to your existing list as a framework for development. Do you need some basic business skills to augment your career track as a software developer? Would learning about financial models help you manage your new team of colleagues in Vietnam, Bangalore, and Oklahoma?

Viewing your statistics as if they belong to a character in a game is a way to try and expand our vision of the situation we’re in. It gives you a sense of your world in a somewhat more manageable shape. From here, you might be able to consider permutations and variations. You can consider whether your French language classes, while interesting, are relating in any way to the things you need to better navigate your life and your career.

Does this work for you? Should I roll a saving throw versus “bad analogy taken too far?” Choose your own adventure.

–Chris Brogan used to be a dungeon master. In ways, his project management career mimicked that experience. Now, he writes at [] and develops content at

From: MAKE Magazine

Basic machining information/textbooks

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Nickp writes - "The US military have a number of excellent manuals for the use of their machinists -- and the text is public domain. Your tax dollars at work! I've prepared some single-file PDF's which are a bit easier to deal with than the more usual single-chapter-per-file setup. " - Link.

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Seven Questions Employees Should Ask Before Joining a Startup

David Beisel has a very good article listing 7 questions that a candidate should ask before joining a startup. It is good to view from this perspective, because in employee point of view, joining a start-up company do have some considerable risks. Asking the following questions will give you more in-depth details about the company [...]

From: MAKE Magazine

The Hardware Book

ElThe Hardware book is the internet's largest free collection of connector pinouts and cable descriptions. All pages have the same style of presentation. This makes it easier to find information... Great stuff, bookmarked! Link.

From: MAKE Magazine

GIMPshop 2.2.8 for Windows

GimpshoplogoIf you're looking for a free alternative to Photoshop - here's GIMPshop - Gimp is a powerful, open source image editing application. GIMPshop is essentially the same program with some cosmetic changes to look/act more like Photoshop. Link.

From: Elonka's Memestreams Page - Subcultures R Us

Hacker Media - BellCoreRadio #32

This episode is hosted by P(?)NYB(?)Y and Elonka Dunin. The topic of the show is Cryptography and the Kryptos sculpture. In an obvious attempt to gain listeners, i feel obligated to tell you that this episode of BellCoreRadio contains clues, both to the Kryptos code as well as a code in Elonkas new book, that have
never before been released to the public!

I co-hosted the latest episode of BellCoreRadio, after having met the host, P0nyb0y, at the Notacon hacker conference in Cleveland. The "show" is basically an hour of the two of us chatting about Kryptos, the K2 announcement and related media attention, and my book.

Caveat: The audio levels on the podcast are a bit erratic, so keep your volume control close at hand while listening. If you can work through the sound quality though, it's (IMHO) an interesting conversation.

Elonka :)

Click on the "MP3" or "OGG" link at this URL, as appropriate:

Link (Direct) - Link (Reputation Tracking) - Discuss [1] - Reply - Recommend

From: Goto Reviews

Energy Efficient Black Lights: Ultraviolet LEDs

Ultraviolet LED Flashlights

LED flashlights are now available in the ultraviolet frequency range. These flashlights have the same longevity and durability of other LED lamps. Some of the ultraviolet flashlights on the market are the Inova X5 Ultraviolet (made with anodized aluminum) and the hefty Streamlight Twin Task. You can see many other types listed on this page.

From: Boing Boing

Broken bookcases with staggered, slanted irregular shelves

Cory Doctorow: While these "broken shelves" bookcases look pretty impractical, I must admit that they look pretty cool once laden with books. Link (via Crib Candy)

From: Slashdot

Stanford Classes Now Available on iTunes

Chowser writes "Forbes is reporting Stanford University is now offering a wide range of content on iTunes. From the article: 'In an unprecedented move, Stanford University is collaborating with Apple Computer to allow public access a wide range of lectures, speeches, debates and other university content through iTunes. No need to pay the $31,200 tuition. No need to live on campus. No need even to be a student. The nearly 500 tracks that constitute "Stanford on iTunes" are available to anyone willing to spend the few minutes it takes to download them from the Internet.'" Talaper noted the Official Apple Page on the program is up as well.

From: Slashdot

A Statistical Review of 1 Billion Web Pages

chrisd writes "As part of a recent examination of the most popular html authoring techniques, my colleague Ian Hickson parsed through a billion web pages from the Google repository to find out what are the most popular class names, elements, attributes, and related metadata. We decided that to publish this would be of significant utility to developers. It's also a fascinating look into how people create web pages. For instance one thing that surprised me was that the <title> is more popular than <br>. The graphs in the report require a browser with SVG and CSS support (like Firefox 1.5!). Enjoy!"

From: Boing Boing

PopSci: How to make Nylon

Mark Frauenfelder: Popular Science has a short how-to on making a thread of nylon from two liquid chemicals. At $120, it's pricy, but sounds like fun.
Picture 11-2Carefully pour the sebacoyl chloride solution on top of the hexamethylenediamine solution (both are available from chemical suppliers). If you have trouble keeping the chemicals in separate layers, ask a bartender for help.

From: MAKE Magazine

$21 Carnivorous plant kit

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Edmond Scientifics has a deal on Audrey II meat eating plants - "This deluxe Carnivorous Creations kit has seeds from over 10 varieties of carnivorous plants, including the Cobra Plant, Venus Fly Trap, Pitcher Plant, Trumpet Plant and more. You'll make your own authentic bog with the included peat planting mix, blue Swamp Rocks, three Bog Buddies and colorful decals! This rare and unusual collection of plants will flourish for years in the specially designed terrarium with proper care and stratification." Link. Feed them Seymore. [Read More] [Comments]

From: Boing Boing

Ethical guidelines for a world of invisible, endless machines

Cory Doctorow: Yesterday I caught a presentation by Adam Greenfield about the ethics of "ubiquitous computing" (the idea that the devices around us will know where they are, what they are, and who you are). This is a place where science fiction and real world policy are converging; for example, it's becoming harder and harder to ride the London Underground without carrying a radio-pollable card that could be used later to identify who you are and where you've been. American passports are getting RFID chips that can be read at a distance, and visitors to the US are likewise being told that they have to carry radio-readable "papers" at all times in the country, at a pilot program being run at two border-crossings.

The utility of radio-readable identifiers is undeniable. I've written stories about how people could use them to improve their quality of life; seniors' homes are incorporating them into the Alzheimer's ward, in Hong Kong, the contactless card has made public transit and other routine transactions into an act of graceful dance, where people gesture in a fluid motion at the turnstiles to present them with their "Octopus" cards.

Obviously, the supply-chain uses for these in retail and wholesale are many and interesting, as are the uses that arise after we bring stuff home -- everyone's favorite example is the washing machine that won't let you mix colors and whites.

But there's an ethical dimension that needs to be considered in engineering radio-readable products. These products are potential privacy-bombs, capable of wreaking great havoc in our personal lives and the body-politic. They have the potential to be systems of control, rather than empowerment. As Mitch Kapor says, "Architecture is politics." The way we design these systems will effect the way we live our lives: in freedom or in tyranny.

Greenfield has a recent book out on the subject, called Everyware, which attacks the promise and peril of ubicomp at great length and in depth. He surveys the ways in which RFIDs are being used today, the good and the bad, looks at the research that's being done for the next generation, and tackles these thorny ethical questions. (introduction, conclusion)

Here's an article that Greenfield wrote on the subject of ubicomp ethics, called "All watched over by machines of loving grace: Some ethical guidelines for user experience in ubiquitous-computing settings." It give you a good flavor for the talk I heard yesterday -- it's fascinating and thought-provoking.

Principle 1. Default to harmlessness. Ubiquitous systems must default to a mode that ensures their users' (physical, psychic and financial) safety.

We are familiar with the notion of "graceful degradation," the ideal that if a system fails, if at all possible it should fail gently in preference to catastrophically, with functionality being lost progressively rather than all at once.

Given the assumption of responsibility for users and their environments implied by the ubicomp rubric, such systems must take measures that go well beyond mere graceful degradation.

Slaved passenger vehicles, dosage settings for pharmaceutical-delivery systems, controls for sealed or denied environments are examples of situations where redundant interlocks must be provided to ensure user safety.


From: Boing Boing

Autogenerate old-time flipbooks from your digital movies

Xeni Jardin: Boing Boing reader michelle says,
This software (donation-ware/freeware) let people take their movies from their digital cameras and turn them into old school style flip books. You can import the video, choose the exact scene you want to turn into a flipbook and the flipbook printer somehow magically turns the video into mini flipbook pages.

From: MAKE Magazine

Bag mod for bike locks

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Here's a clever mod for any bag so you can carry a bike U-lock - Link.

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From: Treehugger

Air Pollution Guerrilla Marketing in Chicago


"The shape and text was created by power-washing filthy sidewalks using a large stencil form. [..] Sidewalks are usually very filthy and just the thought you could make your point by creating a clean spot instead of a dirty one is one to cherish. This is a form of non-destructive guerrilla marketing in it‚€™s purest form." What a good idea! Any readers from Chicago saw them? Via ::Coolz0r, ::Ads of the World

From: Goto Reviews

New Spun Bamboo T-Shirts

Spun Bamboo T-ShirtsA new range of bamboo fiber T-shirts has been released. The brand is "Spun Bamboo" and the shirts are made with 70% bamboo fiber and 30% organic cotton.

Bamboo clothing will never stick to your body or skin, and they keep you cooler in warm weather. They have good moisture absorption with ventilation, and great breathability.

Available from: Bamboo Textile for $17 or eBay for $12.50.


MIT Lectures in Videos

With yesterday’s link on UC Berkeley Lectures Web Cast, many people sent me great words about them. There is a news spreaded out from that MIT has similar archive with video files you can download for classes. There are 309 classes - so have fun on learning! MITWorld Distributed Intelligence via []

From: Goto Reviews

Citrus-Based Bike Degreasers


Citrus degreasers are powerful and much safer to use than traditional petroleum-based solvents like gasoline or kerosene. Citrus solvents are non-flammable and 100% biodegradeable. They are also strongly aromatic — so use them in a well-ventilated area or your house will smell like oranges! Best if used on metal parts like chains, bearings and some components.

More non-toxic bike cleaning supplies can be found at Pedro's. Washing soda can also be used as a degreaser.

Available from: Bradford Bike

From: Boing Boing

Europe's ancient, gorgeous sewers

Cory Doctorow: These galleries of urban explorers' photos of Europe's gorgeous, ancient sewers are thrilling and eerie. Some of these are ancient, some are modern, all are the secret world under the streets that we can hear gurgling when there's no one else around. Link (via BLDG Blog)

From: Boing Boing

Giant, baroque factory photo-series

Cory Doctorow: These Naoya Hatakeyama of a lime factory are incredibly striking -- they look like something out of Quake or Star Wars, huge, inmpossibly baroque and gorgeous. Link (via We Make Money Not Art)

Update: Edward Burtynsky's photos are also a remarkable celebration of the beauty in giant quarries, dams, scrapheaps, and refineries. (Thanks, Kevin!)

From: Cool Tools

MIOX Water Purifier


I was skeptical at first but after some practice I've become very attached to my little MIOX purifier. Its about the size and weight¬ of a mini-Mag Light. I've tried iodine and chlorine tablets in the past, but I've always ended up filtering my water a second time to a Nalgene bottle to get the taste out. I was initially turned off by the smell of the MIOX too. It's very strong for about 10 minutes as it off gases, but after the required 30 minutes of "dwell time" it's virtually undetectable in a 100 oz. reservoir.

I've been using the MIOX pen mostly as a backup. It runs on CR123 Lithium batteries and salt. It took some practice to get the water in the salt chamber filled and the solution to travel back through the screen to the diode. There are a couple screw caps and several ways the task can be done. But I can fill my reservoir, treat my water, and get¬ my reservoir back in my pack in about a minute now.¬ I pre-filter my water if it's really cloudy or stagnant.

The pen has multiple settings for different volumes of water. I use a 3L Nalgene bladder with the fist sized screw cap. Spare salt, test strips and a stuff sack come with it, but I carry none of them. A full salt chamber is good for about 12 doses. The rest is extra weight to me. The MIOX was developed for military applications with assistance from Darpa. Cascade Designs (parent company of MSR, Thermarest and others) partnered with the MIOX corporation to develop an entirely new type of portable water purification. I've been using one for 2 years now and have never encountered any problems. Thousands are in use by US and allied troops around the world. I'm convinced it's sound technology and a useful survival tool. When I'm not hiking it stays in my glovebox with a 2L reservoir.

-- Delian Scudder

MIOX Water Purifier
Available from
or from Amazon

From: MAKE Magazine

Virtual Breadboarding in Linux...

Example Circuits
James sent in an open source Linux program that does all the things we previously posted (the Windows based "Virtual Breadboarding") and much more (including PIC compilation, modeling, and programming - "KTechlab provides a powerful environment for electronic circuits and microcontrollers. This includes simulation of a variety of components (logic, integrated, linear, nonlinear and reactive), simulation and debugging of PIC microcontrollers via gpsim, and its own closely-linked and complementary high level languages: FlowCode and Microbe." Link.

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From: MAKE Magazine

NASA's Blue Marble

136023Main Bm Still Mpg 1Check out the video on the site - Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA's Terra satellite, scientists and data visualizers stitched together a full year's worth of monthly observations of the land surface, coastal oceans, sea ice, and clouds into a seamless, photo-like mosaic of every square kilometer (.386 square mile) of our planet. Link.

From: Cool Tools



My sister gave a MysticMaid cleaning cloth to me for a birthday present. Prejudging the gift (a towel?) I feigned a thanks and a fake smile. Then I tried it. I cleaned my glasses and then my monitor. Wow! I'd swear I got a new prescription.

One of the best uses I found for it, was cleaning up items for online auctions. I cleaned an older digital camera to a nearly brand new state. Cleans CDs and DVDs, too.

Machine washable.

-- Russ Taber

Available from

Manufactured by Mystic Maid

From: MAKE Magazine

Kite building...

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MAKE subscriber Bill has a great kite building blog along with a lot of resources and photos Link.

Kite Aerial Flickr photo set.

Kite building forums.

Pictured here, a geodesic dome that looks like a golf ball when photographed from up above.

Related: Kite Aerial Photography Puts Your Eye in the Sky by Charles C. Benton - To take pictures from a kite, you need three things: a kite, a camera, and a special rig that attaches the camera to the kiteline and activates the shutter button on the camera. Info & article for subscribers.

[Read More] [Comments]

From: MAKE Magazine

Panoramic VR movies - VRMag

VrIf you're really in to creating and viewing your own panoramic movies VRmag has a lot of good articles, resources and movies (I found the free Windows based pano maker I was looking for there) - the site also uses a a panoramic movie to navigate the site as well. Not exactly how you'd navigate most sites, but quite appropriate for the pano-fans out there. Link.

From: Boing Boing

Video: HOWTO make a dry ice bomb

Xeni Jardin: Dry ice, a plastic water bottle, and a good throwing arm are all you need. Link to a homemade instructional video from some dudes in Wyoming, circa 2003.

From: Welcome to the Machine...

History of the 'Verse

This is too cool. It's not a history of the 'Verse so much as a history of Firefly- how and when it got started, where things went wrong, and who did what in response. For those of us (like me) who are relative newcomers to the Firefly/Serenity franchise it's an interesting look at what we missed.

Big fun. I'm glad that the story isn't finished yet.

From: MAKE Magazine

Tutorial for LEDs and transistors

LedsOne of the most asked questions when I venture out to meet other Makers or folks just getting in to making things usually is - "Are there any simple how-tos that explain transistors, LEDs (Light Emitting Diode), etc.." so, here's one I dug up from my bookmarks to check out. If you have others that we haven't covered, post up in the comments or via our "suggest a site". Link.

From: Boing Boing

How to paint anything the same color as the Golden Gate Bridge

Mark Frauenfelder: Todd Lappin wrote a quick little how-to on how to paint anything the same color as the Golden Gate Bridge.
200604111606 Want to paint your home the same color as the Golden Gate Bridge?

We did, in our kitchen, so I made a few calls, including one to the purchasing manager of the Golden Gate Bridge itself. Here's what I learned:

The official paint is called Golden Gate Bridge International Orange (of course), and it's manufactured by Sherwin Williams. Who knew? But there's a catch. It's a custom mix, and only sold in very large (ie: commercial) quantities. Need 500 gallons? You're in luck. Want less? Don't panic.

After visiting a Sherwin-Williams dealer in San Francisco, I was told that the consumer color called "Fireweed" (color code SW 6328) is a color equivalent to the paint used on the bridge.

I was skeptical. Fireweed looked waaaay too dark when I saw it on a paint sample, so I drove out to the bridge to see for myself. Turns out, it's true: If you allow for a little natural fading on the bridge railing shown here, Fireweed (the bottom sample shown above) is indeed the same color as the bridge.


From: Boing Boing

The Bush Escape Video

Mark Frauenfelder: Gary Lerhaupt says: "Video of the Bush Escape incident from China on Sunday. The video was grabbed from the BBC after I spent a half hour fighting with Linux to get it to play, I decided to re-encode to make it more friendly. Be sure to watch for the smirk Bush makes as he at first thinks he's about to successfully duck out of the conference and then the 'beam me up' pose he later goes into when he doesn't know what to do." Link

From: Boing Boing

Geeky postage stamp photoshopping contest

Cory Doctorow: Today on Worth1000, the photoshopping contest theme is to make fantasy postage stamps. The thing that makes this contest so great is that nerdy stamps imply a backstory, a better, more geekier world than this one. Link

From: Boing Boing

The $100,000 animation drawing course (for only $8!)

Mark Frauenfelder: "You can go to animation school, spend a $100,000 and not learn a damn thing about the basics of good animation drawing- OR you can buy a Preston Blair book for $8 and learn it all in a couple months. You pick." --John Kricfalusi Stephen Worth, director of the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive says:
Preston BlairJerry Beck of Cartoon Brew ( recently lent a copy of the extremely rare first edition of Preston Blair's landmark book, "Animation" to the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive to digitize. It's totally different than the edition currently available in stores, because it uses characters from Tom & Jerry and Tex Avery cartoons to illustrate the various principles! You can find scans of this amazing book book at the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive at...

Preston Blair's Animation 1st Edition Part One.

Preston Blair's Animation 1st Edition Part Two.

John Kricfalusi was so impressed with the beautiful drawings in this edition, he has decided to divide the book up into individual lessons and present his own advice along with each one on his blog, All Kinds of Stuff.

The ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive has posted a jump page for students who want to take this informal blog-based course. The jump page has links to all of the resources a student will need, and we will link from there to the web pages of students who have posted their completed assignment drawings on their own web pages or blogs.

The $100,000 Animation Drawing Course Jump Page.

It's time to pull out the paper and pencils and start cartooning!

From: Laughing Squid Home Pages

Simon Perry of recently posted about Kernel Panic, who has uploaded an awesome collection of historical screenshots to Flickr.

via: Factory Joe

From: MAKE Magazine

Dot Matrix Printers as musical instruments...

Printer Buttons2Paul from Dotmatrixsynth makes musical instruments out of printers, here writes - "I've got an ongoing project, reprogramming the firmware in these 1985 Epson LQ-500 printers to turn them into musical instruments. I originally just wanted to make a sort of homemade mellotron, but it's evolved into a much deeper project. These printers (like all printers) have a computer inside that operates all the motors and handles the parallel port, etc. The software that drives that computer is all on an EPROM (a reprogrammable ROM chip.) I remove the EPROM, erase it, and reprogram it with my own software that I've developed by reverse engineering the printer and its computer." Link.


Pillage Before You Burn

The most ridiculous thing you will see this week: Ninjas vs. Pirates. Such unmitigated genius that I think I peed a little.

Found via MetaFilter.

, , ,

From: MAKE Magazine

HOW TO - Controlling the World with your PC

Serial-1Inverarity writes in regarding serial port projects for PCs - "There's a great book for this stuff, Controlling the World with your PC, by Paul Bergsman. I loved this book when I was a young tinkerer (alas I have much less time for tinkering these days, which is why I live vicariously through Makezine.) Mr. Bergsman also used to write for Circuit Cellar, I think. The book has general tips for interfacing with the parallel port, as well as designs for driving LEDs, relays, stepper motors, and lots of other stuff. Great fun!" Link.

From: Boing Boing

Pop music videos made from recut Sherlock Holmes TV show

Cory Doctorow: A woman named Mary Van Deusen creates videos for old pop songs by recutting footage from the old Sherlock Holmes Granada TV series starring Jeremy Brett. This is practically the definition of "magnificent obsession" and some of the cuts are nothing short of genius. Link (Thanks, Rusty!)

From: Boing Boing

Benford's Law modeler shows why numbers often start with 1

Cory Doctorow: A little Flash application provides a compelling example of Benford's Law, making it possible to see intuitively something that is otherwise quite abstract.

Yesterday, I blogged about Benford's Law, which predicts that in a set of numbers, numbers that begin with the numeral 1 will appear more often than other numbers. This can be used to catch cheats by checking to see if the data they give in their tax-returns, research data-sets or homework have more numbers that start with 1 than other numerals.

William Fawcett, who made the Flash app, sez, "A couple of years ago I attended an excellent lecture by Simon Singh - he writes popular science and maths books like Fermat's Last Theorem and Big Bang - and this was one of the mathematical curiosities he mentioned. I was intrigued but sceptical, so built a quick Flash app to test it." Link (Thanks, William!)

Update: Gary sez, " If you use a close approximation of PI (say 3.14159265) as a factor, you can avoid getting numbers that start with 1 at all. Using a factor of 3.14159265 and a start number of 3, you get no numbers starting with 1. Change the start number to 6, you get only numbers starting with 1, 4, or 5. I don't know how the modeler is coded, so I wonder whether this is a quirk in the modeler or an exception to the rule."

From: Laughing Squid

AfterBurn: Reflections on Burning Man


“AfterBurn: Reflections on Burning Man” is a new book edited by longtime Burning Man participants/contributors Lee Gilmore and Mark Van Proyen. It was published last August by University of New Mexico Press and features an engaging collection of nine Burning Man essays that explore the sociological and cultural aspects of the event. AfterBurn can be ordered directly through

AfterBurn contributor Erik Davis writes:

Ironic and blasphemous, intoxicated and lewd, Burning Man’s ADD theater of the absurd might even be said to embody the slap-happy nihilism of postmodern culture itself.

Both Lee and Mark were featured last month on KQED’s Forum, hosted by Michael Krasny. You can listen to the show online from KQED’s Archives.

From: Welcome to the Machine...


Behold, these ninja wannabe's from the Ninja Academy!

These hopefuls are, of course, the first ones who were cut from the application process. They are clearly far too clumsy and weak to ever be fashioned into Shadow Warriors. The Ninja Academy is good, but even they can't work with nothing. :-)

From: Goto Reviews

The Most Efficient Humidifier: Areca Palm

Areca PalmThe indoor plant that outputs the most humidity is the Areca Palm. It releases copious amount of moisture into the air, removes environmental toxins, and is tolerant of indoor spaces. Definitely one of the most useful houseplants out there!

See our post on How To Grow Fresh Air for more information.

From: Boing Boing

Elaborate, high-tech underground pot-growing site uncovered

Xeni Jardin:

Just amazing, the extremes some botanists go to in their horticultural enthusiasm. Sometimes when I read stuff like this, I pretend that tulips or orchids are illegal, and I imagine sneaky little elderly ladies constructing elaborate stealth-growing facilities -- all to feed their insatiable flower joneses. I'm not a marijuana smoker or an orchid-obsessive, but I think outlawing either of those plants makes about as much sense. Snip:

This was underneath a house in a cave. The entrance was through a secret hydraulic door in the garage that led to a concrete ramp that went about 50 yards into the ground. Inside the cave was living quarters and a secret escape hatch that led you through a tunnel that exited via another hydraulic door that opened up a rock on the outside. It was very elaborate. The set up allowed them to harvest every 60 days which resulted in multi-million dollar sales. One of the guys busted was living in a house on the water in FL and had a nice yacht. One of the agents here in Nashville worked on this for 5 years before the warrant was finally served in December.
Link (Thanks, Toby)

From: MAKE Magazine

Sensor workshop using the MAKE Controller Kit

Here's the first ever sensor workshop using Make Controller Kit - the intensive 4-day workshop offers a hands-on introduction to sensors, sensor interfaces and integration of software and hardware...

"Michael Shiloh, Margaret Schedel and Michael Zbyszynski will teach a workshop on how to use the Make Controller Kit to interface to a variety of sensors for musical performance, dance, video, sound, and art installations.

Students will learn electronics, how to solder, how to work with sensors, and how to use the Make Controller kit. Cycling '74's Max/MSP/Jitter programming environment will be used for manipulating music and images with the sensor data, and to create reactive environments.

In the course of the workshop participants will build a working system which they will take with them.

June 29 - July 2, 2006
Workshop Cost: $600
A $200 materials fee, due by June 19, includes the Make Controller Kit and sensors

Full details are at

Margaret Schedel: Women's Audio Mission (
Michael Shiloh: MakingThings (
Michael Zbyszynski ("


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From: MAKE Magazine

The Chemical Formulary

082060352X.01. Sclzzzzzzz
One more old book from Cpikas! - "The Chemical Formulary - about 15 volumes from 1933 to 1957 with recipes for everything from pyrotechnics to vegetable soup! Includes recipes for hair pomade and flares... Very, very cool...

The Chemical Formulary: Collection of Commercial Formulas for Making Thousands of Products in Many Fields - Amazon.

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Date Stamp Your ‚€œTo Read‚€ Materials

I’m looking at my desk and there’s a book sitting on top of the recent Wired magazine, atop two other magazines. I’m looking at my bookmarking, specifically the stuff I didn’t have time to read at a specific moment and that I intended to go back and read later. My RSS reader (Bloglines) has [...]

From: Boing Boing

John K's drawing school

Mark Frauenfelder: John Kricfalusi, creator of Ren and Stimpy and one of the world's best animators, has been using Preston Blair's animation book as a textbook to teach people the art of cartooning online. (You can download the pages for each lesson from the Animation Art Archive.)

If you are interested in learning cartooning, this is the opportunity of a lifetime.

200605171607 Here's a method to easily check your copies. Remember this word: PROPORTION

Part of what makes a character look like who it is, is its proportions. MANY characters can have the same construction, but they have different proportions-like Elmer Fudd and Coal Black and Peter Pan and Pinnochio-all those folks are the exact same construction! -THEY ARE MADE UP OF THE SAME TYPES OF FORMS-A BIG ROUND CRANIUM AND A SMALL BABY JAW.

1) Bring your drawings into Photoshop.
2) Bring Preston's drawings that you copied into the same Photoshop file.
3) Re-size the Preston drawings to match the size of yours.
4) Put the drawings next to each other.
5) Make notes of how your drawing differs from Preston's
6) Make a copy of the Preston drawing and lay it on top of yours on a layer
7) Make the layer transparent so you can see through it to yours.
8) Make more notes on where yours differs from Preston's.
9) Redraw your copy, this time trying to fix the mistakes you found.

This fella's copy is pretty good, so there isn't a lot to correct. Some other artists are less accurate.


From: MAKE Magazine

A view from 66,000 feet up

153200550 4684Fd981C
MAKE Flickr photo pool member Jcoxon77's writes - "View from the side camera on Pegasus I at approx 66,000ft. The Pegasus High Altitude Balloon project is a UK based amateur student run project that involves launching payloads to "Near Space" (between an altitude of 60,000ft (20km) and 325,000ft (99km). This is achieved through the use of helium weather balloons which are designed to burst at a certain height and then the payload returns to earth via parachute. Based on a gumstix, gps, nokia 5110 and cameras." - Link and project details.

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From: MAKE Magazine

The drawings of Leonardo da Vinci

Drawings and more from one of the original Makers - Leonardo da Vinci. [via] Link.

Pictured here - drawing of a flying machine, 1488.

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From: MAKE Magazine

DIY LED lighting Guide

Matthew has a super LED lighting guide - "LED lighting is becoming increasingly popular in fish tanks, case mods, and even household lighting. This article intends to be a comprehensive guide to their advantages, powering them, and creating dimming solutions." Link.

Pictured here, LEDs from HOW TO - Build a 1,024,000 mcd portable light - Link.

Tons of LED projects and more - Link.
HOW TO - Make a LED Blinky - Make 04, page 165.

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From: Boing Boing

Pyrotechnic fun with a hunk of steel wool and a wire

Mark Frauenfelder: Steel Wool Sparks As any junior high school student knows, steel wool burns. These guys took this demonstration to a new level by attaching a piece of steel wool to a wire, lighting it, and swinging it around wildly. Very pretty!
(Alex says: Just so you know, this site attempts to open pop-unders and also attempts to install the WinFixer malware. It uses a site called to get it's "advertising" from.) Link (Thanks, Gopher Boy!)

Reader comment: David says:

The same effect can be sustained for longer by attaching a chicken wire cage to a chain, filling it with wire wool and dipping it in paraffin. This is known by the much less macho name of "sparkle poi", and typically throws sparks about 30ft in every direction.

From: MAKE Magazine

Open Circuits - electronics wiki

Open Circuits is a wiki for sharing electronics knowledge, schematics, board layouts, and parts libraries. So far 39 articles have been submitted - let's see if this takes off! Link.

Pictured here, circuit diagram from the 24" Wall Clock on the wiki.

[Read More] [Comments]


Fifty Essential Topics on Economics

Economic is an essential topic for life. If you are working, understanding economics will help you understanding how are the products and services of your company relate to the markets and consumers. Why some products can mark the price so high and still there are demands on purchase? How services and products decrease its value? [...]

From: MAKE Magazine

High-Speed Visual Imaging

Ns3-24 SmallTrevor writes "Here's a site related to the recent Make: 04 article on how to take high speed photographs. It is maintained by my High Speed Imaging teacher and has a bunch of circuits you can build for high speed photography, such as sound triggers and delays." Link. Make article here, and our kit is now available as well.

From: MAKE Magazine

The portable electromechanical slug thrower

SlugInteresting device built from a Sherline 5400 tabletop milling machine...information on a a portable, battery powered, electromechanical projectile launcher the author designed and built. It is a type of "centrifugal" launcher powered by a DC motor. The launcher fires primarily plastic spheres (or steel with some modifications) semi- or full- automatically that is more powerful than a typical airsoft gun. No compressed air or any other energy source besides the battery pack is needed to power the launcher, so it is capable of sustained full automatic fire. The device is called a "PEST", or Portable Electromechanical Slug Thrower for short. *grin* The PEST has the following specifications... Link.

From: MAKE Magazine

Free cookbook PDFs

Cover-MI was looking for an interesting cookbook for project ideas with non-food items, and oddly enough spotted a link to one on Robert Scoble's site - it's extremely well done. Autumn Omakase is an electronic/PDF cookbook available for free download. The two books we‚€™ve published electronically are pretty unique as the quality is comparable to what you‚€™d see at a bookstore, but its available for free on the net. Call it a pleasant side-effect of a labor of love. [via] Link

From: Boing Boing

Time-lapse video of Panama Canal locks -- hypnotic

Cory Doctorow: This hypnotic video is made with time-lapse frames from seven days' worth of the webcam at the Panama Canal's Miraflores canal. Watching the stately dance of the giant ships, day and night, passing through the locks, is like watching ogres waltz -- their grace is perfectly offset by their hulking, container-stacked brutal unloveliness. Link (Thanks, Bob!)

From: Laughing Squid

Recovery 2.0 & Identity 2.0

Jeff Jarvis

Recovery 2.0 and Identity 2.0 are a couple of interesting open source concepts that have emerged recently.

Recovery 2.0 is Jeff Jarvis’ project to leverage web technology to help better prepare for the next disaster. He outlines his proposal on his post “Recovery 2.0: A call to convene”. If you want to help with this important project, check out the Recovery 2.0 wiki.

Our goal is to be ready for the next disaster so people can better use the internet ‚€” via any device ‚€” to better:

1. share information,
2. report and act on calls for help,
3. coordinate relief,
4. connect the missing,
5. provide connections for such necessities as housing and jobs,
6. match charitable assets to needs,
7. get people connected to these projects - and the world - sooner.

Identity 2.0 is Sxip CEO Dick Hardt’s suggestions for improving and simplifying the online identity verification process. Check out this video of Dick’s excellent keynote address on Identity 2.0 from OSCON 2005.

As the online world moves towards Web 2.0, the concept of digital identity is evolving, and existing identity systems are falling behind. New systems are emerging that place identity in the hands of users instead of directories. Simple, secure and open, these systems will provide the scalable, user-centric mechanism for authenticating and managing real-world identities online, enabling truly distinct and portable Internet identities.

- photo of Jeff Jarvis talking about Recovery 2.0 at Web 2.1 by Scott Beale

From: MAKE Magazine

HOW TO - Make fortune cookies

Neat, here's how to make your own fortune cookies, Annw writes - "Long the delicious denouement to a night of eating Chinese food, fortune cookies are surprisingly easy to make at home. Get creative with your words and create funny, silly, flirtatious, or hopeful fortunes. These cookies are good for parties and personalized gifts." - Link.

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From: Welcome to the Machine...

Back Into the Black!

In case you don't follow what's happening in Firefly/Serenity fandom, there's something big happening. The Master^W^WJoss Whedon's birthday is June 23rd. In honor of this, there are charity screenings of Serenity happening worldwide (yes, in movie theaters) from the 22nd through the 24th, with the proceeds going to Equality Now (Joss' favorite charity). Full details can be had here. This is a big deal, guys. It's an entirely fan-organized event that's getting a lot of publicity. In addition to "doin' good works", it also shows the dedication of the Browncoat community. It keeps Firefly in people's minds, and may add a bit to our chances of getting a sequel.

Here in the Tampa area, it'll be playing at the Tampa Pitcher Show on N Dale Mabry on the 24th (this Saturday) at 1:30 PM. They'll be doing raffles and such, and of course they serve food and drink there. I haven't checked with all of my Smooshlings yet, but so far it looks likely that we'll be there. Note that admission is a little higher than normal, but it is going to a worthwhile cause.

Additionally, I don't know the full details, but if you don't already own a copy of Serenity (or are looking to pick up another one for a friend or convert), buy it on Friday the 23rd! Again, the spike in sales is being parlayed into improved chances of a sequel.

Shiny! I "only" got to see Serenity 5 times on the big screen. It looks like I'll get a chance to kick that up a notch. :-)

EDIT: The Smoosh will definitely be there. Janet is buying tickets now. :-) :-) :-)

From: Cool Tools

APC Universal Plug Adapter


If you've ever traveled to Europe, you've taken or bought a plug converter. If you've traveled much at all, you've probably purchased a set of these things in a lovely (and huge) travel case. Equally likely is that you've either forgotten one or two or lost them somewhere along the road, forcing you to purchase spares that don't fit in the original case.

For this reason, I got tired of a bag of random adapters and went looking for a universal one. I found two or three of them and they all had one thing in common; they were the size of a baseball (I'm obsessive about size and weight when I travel). So when I stumbled across this adapter by APC, I fell in love. It's small (1x2x4 inches), it's packable, it has all the adapters I need, and it works. If you travel overseas and you're sick of a computer bag that weighs more than your luggage, you have to have this.

-- Keith Smith

APC Universal Plug Adapter
Available from Amazon

Manufactured by APC

From: Boing Boing

Cryopreservation may not damage cells

David Pescovitz: University of Helsinki chemist Anatoli Bogdan reports that cells, tissues, and perhaps the body, could be cryopreserved without suffering damage from ice crystals. Most people are familiar with cryopreservation as a method that could someday enable dead people to be reanimated when cures are available for whatever killed them. (Note: Cryonics organization Alcor says their technique doesn't cause the formation of ice crystals anyway.) Bogdan reports the results of his study in the scientific publication American Chemical Society (ACS) Journal of Physical Chemistry B. From the ACS News Service:
In medicine, cryopreservation involves preserving organs and tissues for transplantation or other uses. Only certain kinds of cells and tissues, including sperm and embryos, currently can be frozen and successfully rewarmed. A major problem hindering wider use of cryopreservation is formation of ice crystals, which damage cell structures...

"It may seem fantastic, but the fact that in aqueous solution, [the] water component can be slowly supercooled to the glassy state and warmed back without the crystallization implies that, in principle, if the suitable cryoprotectant is created, cells in plants and living matter could withstand a large supercooling and survive," Bogdan explained.

From: Laughing Squid



The BrainJams Unconference, Chris Heuer’s follow-up to October’s highly successful Web 2.1 event (here’s my Web 2.1 wrap-up), takes place this Saturday, December 3rd at SRI in Menlo Park. Laughing Squid is proud to once again be one of the sponsors of this excellent event. For more info, check out the BrainJams wiki and blog.

BrainJams Events are open spaces where the participants decide on the content of the event within a basic framework that includes one on one knowledge networking in the morning and open discussions on how to best use emerging technologies in the afternoon. The knowledge and information shared amongst participants will be gathered and redistributed online to further the discussions, learning and idea manifestation after the event and beyond.


Blue Man Group's Rods and Cones: The Hellawhack Shiznit

Never seen Blue Man Group live. This is a nice taste of their stage show, it looks like. They're performing "Rods and Cones," my favorite song off their Audio album.

The full line, which I didn't use in the title lest the URL stretch from here to Cleveland, is "The hellawhack shiznit that happens inside your brizzle." Man, science rocks.

Direct link for the feedreaders.

Found via VideoSift.


From: Laughing Squid

Survival Research Labs Shop Photos

SRL Shop

Yesterday I went over to the Survival Research Labs Shop in San Francisco for the SRL LA Show After Party and showed up a little early to take some photos of the outside and inside of this legendary location. The shop, were they create the robots and machines for their amazing shows, has been in this location since 1982, but soon it will have to move because SRL founder/director Mark Pauline is currently being forced to find a new location for the shop. This is a massive and expensive undertaking and there will probably be several fundraising events prior to the move, which I’ll be posting as they come up. If anyone has any good leads on a space, let Mark know.

Photos of the Survival Research Labs Shop

photo credit: Scott Beale


Q: What's Cooler Than Being Cool? A: Charlie Brown vs. OutKast

One of the oldest and best audio/video this one for when you get back from lunch and the reality that you're trapped in the quagmire of another work week truly grabs hold. Snoopy dancing about exuberantly to the strains of OutKast cannot be denied.

Direct link for the feedreaders.

Found via VideoSift.

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From: MAKE Magazine

Linux based, 24 monitor, Quake 3...

Best.setup.ever from the gang at - "Here are some videos featuring Quake 3 Arena being played with a gyro mouse (the technology that the new Nintendo Revolution controller will be using) as well as a standard mouse. The resolution of the game is still 10240x3072 and runs on a 24-monitor Linux cluster here at Virginia Tech's HCI lab. As you can see from the videos, I was able to increase the frame-rate and the game is very playable and incredibly addicting." - [via] Link & videos.

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From: MAKE Magazine

ARPAnet - 1972

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A 1972 documentary on ARPAnet, the early internet. A very interesting look at the beginnings of what is now a huge part of most of our lives - [via] Link.

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From: MAKE Magazine

BlueSense - BlueMelon sensors

I haven't tried these, but Karl seems to like them, he writes - "Wireless USB to max modules (like Teleo, but than better!!) check out the I/O functions, up to 25 meters, perfect for small interactive projects. And not that expensive." - Link.

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From: Hug Me

How true it is..

Damn.. this really isn't funny because of the imbeded truth...

From: Boing Boing

Library bookcases tumbled like dominos

Cory Doctorow: We've all seen cartoons in which rows of library shelves are tumbled like dominos, but in librarian Klara Kim's Flickr photostream, there are actual pictures of the aftermath. There is certainly an element of hilarity to them -- albeit uncomfortable -- but the comments on the photo betray the tragedy: "Most [books] are intact, but some were caught in between shelves and got ripped apart. I would have taken photos of that as well, but there were only so many moments I could stand around taking pictures before I felt like a morbid jerk that wasn't helping anybody." Link (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

From: Boing Boing

The IT Crowd -- the geek comedy I've been waiting for all my life

Cory Doctorow:

Yesterday, I blogged about The IT Crowd, and the fact that Channel 4 has the vision to put the first two episodes online in advance of the show as a promotion, and the foolishness to lock them in a proprietary streaming Microsoft format that meant that I couldn't watch them. I've now successfully downloaded the episodes through the Bittorrent tracker The Pirate Bay, and I can't remember when I've laughed so much.

Creator Graham Linehan has produced a cast of characters who exemplify everything I loved about Father Ted: complete, over-the-top silliness, likable villainy, and great comic foolishness. The setup for the show is as silly as Father Ted's: two IT geeks in the basement of a large, abusive corporation get a new boss, a woman who lied about her IT experience on her resume. What follows isn't funny because of its intricate plotting, but because of its willingness to lard absurdity on absurdity, so that each episode gets progressively weirder as it progresses (for example, in episode two, there's a screamingly funny running gag about a fire that's broken out in the basement, which has to be hidden from the abusive CEO when he comes down to check on everyone's morale).

I'm so glad that this show exists. I've waited all my life for a truly geeky comedy, and I think that this is it. Link

From: Welcome to the Machine...

Kim would be right to beat me for this...

I present to you the Cobb County Periodic Table.
The Cobb County Periodic Table

From: Boing Boing

40-min MP3 of the history of bastard pop, remix and mashup

Cory Doctorow: This is a 40-minute MP3 of a British radio broadcast called "DJ Food - Raiding the 20th Century" that attempted to sum up the entire cut-up/remix/mash up music movement. It's lots of crazy, whacky, jarring, harmonious, tricksy, and serendipitous sound, and it made me laugh and think. The landing page for the MP3 has an exhaustive list of the samples employed.
Pt 1 - Time Machine

20th Century Fox theme intro
Negativland - Downloading¬  (Seeland)
MCSleazy / Franzie Boys - Triple Take (Half Inch Recordings 12")
DJ BC - Surebladi (mp3)
Danger Mouse -¬  Encore (CD)
Wayne Butane - Elderly (Sucks Bigtime)
Big City Orchestra - Bulldog (The Beatlerape)
Jay-Z - Encore (accapella) (Roc A Fella)
The Beatles - Glass Onion (2 versions) (Apple LP)
Avril Plays The Beatles (mp3)
Loo and Placido - Safari Love (mp3)
Jrb - Busta vs Steptoe & Son (mp3)
Loo & Placido -¬  Kids Will Rock You (mp3)
Braces Tower - Special Child (mp3)
Exactshit - Crazy (CDR)
Cropstar - Crazy Prado (mp3)
Tacteel vs Britney - Overprotected (CD-R)
Will Smith vs Mr Trick - Nod Ya Head (Boot Camp 7")
Osymyso - Intro inspection (Radar 12")
fLeXuS - It Ain't Nothin' (CD-R)
unknown - Spandau Fillet (mp3)
Go Home Productions - Turn Out The Light Slave And Give Me Some Rhythm (mp3)
Go Home Productions - Work It Out With A Foxy Lady (mp3)
Beyonce - Crazy In Love (poj mix) (mp3)
Skkatter - Diddy (mp3)
Wobbly - Yo Yo Yo Yoyo, Hey... (Wild Why)
Frenchbloke & Son - Sound of da S Club (CD-R)
Lemon Jelly - Soft Rock (LJ 7")
dsico - Bille Jean Dancehall Edit (mp3)
People Like Us - Nobody Does (ubuweb mp3)
2 Many Djs - Smells Like Booty (mp3)
fLeXuS - White Love (CD - R)
Evil Twin - The Lady & The Lake (CD-R)
Justin Timberlake - Like I Love U (Ochre remix) (mp3)
Osymyso - Intro Expansion Pt 2 (mp3)
Go Home Productions. - Ray Of Gob (Half Inch Recordings 12")
Madonna - WTF? (mp3)
Player - Angel of Theft (Blood 12")
Osymyso - Wegoddim (mp3)
Flashbulb - Mama Said Knock You Out (mp3)

Link (Thanks,¬ Ben!)

Update: Here's the official Raiding the 20th Century page, but they've taken the MP3 down.

From: Goto Reviews

Non-Toxic Caulk Substitutes


We've tracked down a more efficient caulking compound — one that does not contain toxic VOCs (volatile organic compounds) such as toluene and hexane. These are present in conventional caulk because they are cheap to produce. One company, AFMSafeCoat, produces a caulking compound that is a water-resistant, flexible sealant with excellent adhesion.

From: Boing Boing

Set: geeky card-game that rewires your brain

Cory Doctorow: Last week on a rainy afternoon in Amsterdam, I ended up playing a few hands of Set on a friend's houseboat. I'd watched the game played once before at a nerdy event, and the fiendish intensity of the players was a gigantic warning-sign -- this was a game with an event-horizon, something that would suck me in and never let me out again.

It's true: Set is amazingly addictive, a nerdy game of great fascination, one that makes your brain reel and reconfigure itself, so the whole world starts to appear Set-like after a few hours' play.

The dealer puts down twelve cards, and players hunch over them, trying to find three-card sets. For three cards to form a set, each of their attributes must either match or diverge. There are four attributes with three possible configurations each: shading (solid, outline, grey); color (blue, red, green); number (one, two, three) and shape (rectangle, oval, squiggle). It's a little like Boggle in that the winning strategy is a combination of directed searching and general unfocusing of the eyes and trusting to intuition to make the sets pop out of the well. Players are penalized for calling out false sets, which happens all the time, since once you engage the pattern-matching centers of your brain, they can't help but see phantom sets in the cards.

Play this long enough and every bit of the world around you turns into Set -- the three chairs are matched as rectangles, unmatched in color, but, darn it, shaded the same. No set. Link

From: MAKE Magazine

DIY Ring Light from Christmas LEDs

Mr NikonJohn writes "Did you run out and buy a big old string of white LED Christmas lights because you just knew that they were of the sweetest hackability? I know I did, and I'm going to build one of these right lights and keep it with my camera gear. You never know when your going to need a bit of fill light when doing a closeup, shooting a macro image, or just need somthing to make retroreflective things come alive." Link.

From: Boing Boing

US-VISIT immigration system spent $15 million per crook caught

Cory Doctorow: The US-VISIT program subjects visitors to the USA to a humiliating round of being mug-shotted and fingerprinted, and has cost at least $15 billion. Since January 2004, it has caught a paltry 1,000 immigration cheats and crooks (no terrorists, though), at a cost of $15 million per apprehension. As Bruce Schneier points out, this is a pretty cost-ineffective way of catching crooks.
I wrote about US-VISIT in 2004, and back then I said that it was too expensive and a bad trade-off. The price tag for "the next phase" was $15B; I'm sure the total cost is much higher.

But take that $15B number. One thousand bad guys, most of them not very bad, caught through US-VISIT. That's $15M per bad guy caught.

Surely there's a more cost-effective way to catch bad guys?


From: Slashdot

I, Woz

theodp writes "In a Q&A session, Steve Wozniak discusses his forthcoming autobiography, how HP not only passed on his Apple design but also nixed his pleas to work on an HP computer, and the perks of being an Apple co-founder - free 65W AC adapters!"

From: Boing Boing

Brokeback to the Future: trailer mashup

Xeni Jardin:

Brokeback Mountain + Back to the Future = Link.

Produced by a group of Emerson College students known as "Chocolate Cake City" (thanks, Paul Simpson, and Ian W.)

Also, this Defamer post herds up some of the many examples of Brokeback-inspired fan-art roamin' around on these here cold, lonesome internets. Link


11 Resources on Free Online Stock Photos

Over at Listible, there is a good list of resources on stock photos and graphics. These stock photo resource sites provide you with high quality images for personal and non-commerical usage (and some allow for commerical usage as well). You can edit it, or use it directly in your web site or document. 11 resources on [...]

From: Welcome to the Machine...

What's in my ears

I started listening to podcasts after Dragon*Con last year, and have gotten fairly hooked. For no clear reason, I'd like to share with you what I'm listening to (in no particular order):

The Signal- This is the reason I started listening to podcasts in the first place. It's the podcast of the Firefly 'verse! It's extremely well done, and has a lot of cred with the cast and crew of Firefly. "Season One" of The Signal focused on promoting Serenity. "Season Two" (which just started today) focusses on getting a sequel made. As a side note, I actually learned some Chinese from this podcast. :-)

Firefly Talk- This is the other podcast of the Firefly 'verse! ;-) The crews of Firefly Talk and The Signal have about a 50% overlap, so the quality level is pretty much identical. Surprisingly, there's almost no overlap in material between the two shows. Firefly Talk tends to focus more on the fan experience. It's The Signal's little brother, but is just as compelling.

Polyamory Weekly- [info]cunningminx is rapidly becoming a quasi-official voice of the poly community. Her show is fun, informative, and well-balanced. She also has a drop-dead sexy voice. :-)

Ask A Ninja- I've written about this before. It's the only video podcast to which I subscribe, and it's a riot! Got a question? The ninja's got answers! Of course, it'll probably cost you your life...

Skepticality- Science and Skeptic Thought! This is a breath of rational fresh air, debunking urban legends, quackery, and common historical misconceptions in a lighthearted, fun format.

Battlestar Galactica- This is executive producer Ronald D, Moore's official commentary for each episode. These podcasts are the same commentary that appears on the DVDs, so each one has the same running time as the corresponding episode. He delivers a lot of insight into what happens "behind the scenes". Interesting side note- his commentary for the most recent episode (#214- "Black Market") is almost entirely a litany about how bad the episode was and what went wrong with its production.

The Combat Information Center- This is a fan podcast that compliments the official podcast perfectly. Where the Sci-Fi podcast is behind the scenes, Alan Light's podcast is like talking about the show with a fellow fan. He's sharp and often has interesting observations. Interesting side note- his commentary for the most recent episode (#214- "Black Market") strongly focused on how much he loved the episode and pretty much everything about it. Quite a contrast. :-)

Radio Verda- My study of Esperanto has largely fallen to the wayside, but I still have a strong interest in learning it. Part of the problem I faced was a lack of opportunity to hear la lingvon being spoken by someone who is fluent and well-practiced. This fixes that. Each installment of Radio Verda is short but interesting. I enjoy both using it as background noise to grow more accustomed to the sounds of the language and listening closely to it to try to suss out what's being said. Most of the time I only pick out a word or phrase here or there, but on those occasions when I can work out most of a conversation it's like a little linguistic treat.

By the way, in case you don't know, they're all completely free. You can download the individual files from the linked site, or subscribe using your podcast catcher of choice. Personally I use iTunes (I know, you're shocked). You can go to the iTunes Music Store, search for a podcast by name, and subscribe with a single click (yes, still free).

From: Boing Boing

Shared traits of great contemporary web design

Cory Doctorow: Web Design from Scratch has run a design roundup of several of today's cleanest, best-designed websites, and then analyzed them in depth to explain what characteristics they all share.

* Simple layout
* 3D effects, used sparingly
* Soft, neutral background colours
* Strong colour, used sparingly
* Cute icons, used sparingly
* Plenty of whitespace
* Nice big text
Link (via Waxy)

From: Boing Boing

Songs mixed from the sounds of dying hard-drives

Cory Doctorow: Gizmodo has posted the winners of an hilarious competiton to remix the sounds of a hard-drive dying into a song. Some of the runners-up rapped or sang, but the winner, James Postlethwaite's "Hitachi Hard-Drive Project - Noriko Version" turned out an eerie, ambient song that is as mournful as the death of a drive itself. Link (via Copyfight)

From: MAKE Magazine

The Real Acme

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Iowahawk has an a great post about Turbonique Inc, a company from the 1960's who wanted to bring jet engines & rocket technology to the consumer market - for cars. "Once upon a time in the postwar, before the advent of EPA and OSHA and the Consumer Products Safety Commission and weenies in bike helmets and multilingual warning stickers on stepladders, crazy people walked this earth. Good, fun-loving Americans who knew that "instructions" were something you threw in the trash along with the empty Falstaff bottles. A halcyon era filled with manly men who savored the wholesome virtues of a rugged game of un-seatbelted automotive chicken." Thanks Mark! - Link.


  • Mod Your Rod. James Bond depended on Q to trick out his cars. But with Make's guide to car hacking, you'll learn how to turn your ride into a fully loaded, grease-eating, MP3-blasting, Wi-Fi-transmitting monster machine. MAKE 03 - Page 49.
  • The Jam Jar Jet. Don't think you can build a jet engine at home? Here's a simple jet engine--a pulsejet--that you can make out of a jam jar in an afternoon. All it takes is bending some wire and punching a few holes. MAKE 05 - Page 102.
  • Lots of ways to get around, maybe - Link.

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From: OhGizmo!

LaCie SAFE Mobile Hard Drive with Encryption

LaCie SAFE Mobile Hard Drive with Encryption (Images courtesy LaCie)By Andrew Liszewski

Portable USB drives have become quite a lifesaver for me especially when I can tote around 100GB of data in my back pocket. However as technology shrinks in size the ability to lose said technology drastically increases. While I try to not carry sensitive data around with me at times it has happened and of course it’s during those times that I’m pretty paranoid about losing my drive.

LaCie, maker of some of the best external USB and Firewire drives around is now selling the SAFE Mobile Hard Drive which incorporates biometric access technology right on the drive enclosure. The stored data is encrypted using a 24-character pass phrase stored on the board which is unique to every drive making data corruption impossible. And if you intend to share this drive with others you can setup access for up to 5 different users with each person having different privileges such as read & write or limited to read-only.

The LaCie SAFE Mobile Hard Drive is available in a 40GB model for $179.99 or a 120GB model for $339.99.

[LaCie SAFE Mobile Hard Drive with Encryption] VIA [The Gadget Blog]


How to Exercise Your Eyes

Beause of my job nature, I often sitting in front of computer and stare at the monitor. WikiHow has a good how-to on ease the eyestrain and keep the eye healthy: … It is even more important to do the exercises regularly than to do them for a long time. Even 30-60 seconds of eye movement [...]

From: MAKE Magazine

Make: Podcast - Survival Research Labs Walkthrough

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While in San Francisco, I was invited to videotape a walkthrough of the Survival Reasearch Labs. SRL has been making industrial sized remote control machines and performing with them around the world since 1978.


Violet Blue was my host and she showed me the workshop, machines and materials that are packed into this industrial building. There is a spirit of ingenuity in this place that is palpable. The raw creative potential here to make anything you can imagine made me giddy. Because all the machines were crammed into corners and stacked up and under tarps, you've really got to look at their website to see what the machines look like.


When we finished video-taping, Violet told me that they are being evicted from their workshop space. I'm thankful I had the opportunity to see it and make this video to share before it moves to a new location.

They have a performance coming up on August 11th in San Jose.

Click here to get the video (MP4) delivered automatically with iTunes. This video will play on PC/Mac/Linux/PSPs and iPod video devices - Link. Here's the teeny 3gp video for phone watchers. I'm trying out the interface for it's ability to do widescreen 16x9 flash movies in native pixel size. For those hopelessly addicted to youtube, here's your fix.

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From: Boing Boing

Writing for Wired, circa 1998, by Paul Di Filippo

Mark Frauenfelder: I just stumbled across this amazing piece by Paul Di Filippo on the trials and tribulations of writing an article for Wired in 1998. It's scary and funny. And I owe Paul a long-overdue apology for dragging him into the ordeal in the first place. Sorry, Paul! Link to PDF file| Link to the Wired article

From: OhGizmo!

Bonsai Tree In A Can

smp_tin_bonsai_LRG.jpgBy Bruce Eaton

Time to embrace your inner green thumb Buddha and grow some nirvana on your desk with the Bonzai Tree in a Can. Coming to you straight from Japan and just like the ones Mr. Miyagi grew, this tin opens up to reveal black sand soil and inside that are the bonzai black pine seeds. Perfect for desks, the office, or a window due to its small size of 3.5″ diameter x 1.25″ tall. Even in a cubicle, it will not be eating up space.

With some basic gardening rules, such as remembering to water it, you should be good to go. And $12 is a good price for those even just looking to see if they can grow a bonsai without the financial risk of say, killing off a 300 year old bonsai myrtle from Okinawa.

[Bonzai Tree In A Can] VIA [Uncrate]

From: OhGizmo!

Wearable UV Meter

Wearable UV Meter (Image courtesy The Andrew Liszewski

Sure everyone hates being indoors when the sun is shining but besides the light and warmth it brings it also has a dark side. The sun’s UV rays bring sunburns, can lead to cataracts and in the worst case scenario can cause skin cancer. As a result it’s important to be aware of how long that bright glowing star can safely be enjoyed.

This wearable UV meter takes the guess work out of how long it’s safe to be outside. It measures the strength of the sun’s UV rays and with an easy to read LCD screen lets you know what the current temperature is, your recommended sun exposure time, the recommended sun protection factor based on the current conditions, how long you’ve already been in the sun and most importantly when it’s time to head indoors. It has an ‘anti-splash’ design so while not completely waterproof it’s still usable at the beach or poolside.

The Wearable UV Meter is available from The for about $23.00 (after conversion.)

[Wearable UV Meter] VIA [Gadget Candy]

From: MAKE Magazine

$149 Linux computer - The Municator

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Yellowsheepriver is making a $149 computer, their slogan is "Say no to Wintel" - the machine runs pretty much all the software most folks need and sports some nice specs for the price - 40GB HDD, a 400mhz/800mhz Godson 2C processor, 256MB RAM, 4 USB2 ports, VGA-output, PS2 input, TV-output [via] - Link & video here.

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165 Energy Drinks Reviews

As much as we don’t want to be caffienated, sometimes we want to get boost and stay awake. There are many energy drinks in the market, how do you find a drink that is effective in providing the boost, but less cost and greater taste? Dan Mayer has solved this for you. He has reviewed [...]

From: Hug Me

Bullet time

This is some awesome video of bullets going through random objects in slow motion.

From: Welcome to the Machine...

The Best Part of my Life

This post is intended for [info]femetal, but I'm happy to make it public.

Mia Amo, you are the center of my world. There's no part of my life that isn't immeasurably better because you're a part of it.

In celebration of this, I present
100 Things I Love About You (other than the magnificent sex)

1) You are my moral compass

2) Your amazing intelligence, and willingness to share it with me

3) You can change a water pump in a car


5) Playgrounds at night

6) You value practicality and utility

7) You tolerate my varying moods

8) You're willing to turn a sheet into a tablecloth

9) I don't have to compete with you for food

10) You have exquisite taste in women

11) You're willing to share both me and yourself with other people

12) You're willing to share me with a computer

13) You're self-reliant

14) You think for yourself

15) You're headstrong and stubborn (yes, that's a *good* thing!)

16) You're messy

17) You let me look at porn

18) You listen to me ramble on about video games

19) You still love me, even though we're not the same people we were when we first fell in love

20) You appreciate a good steak

21) You understand that science is fun!

22) The way you sometimes 'gish' bananas while eating them

23) You share my servitude to The Krystal

24) You say 'forever' and mean it

25) You look smokin' hot with a shotgun

26) You like to be the one to drive

27) You give perfect directions

28) When I speak in gibberish you still understand me

29) You like to smell like food

30) "Homes aren't for hurting. Homes are for hugs!"

31) You agree that Bill and Ted are excellent!

32) You have great taste in lesbian porn

33) "Dude, how do you lose a car?"

34) Inductively-Coupled Plasma

35) You don't rule out the possibility of living on Mars

36) You don't call me a nut-job for being evangelical about cryonics

37) ...or nanotech

38) ...or robots

39) You can and have set up a router on your own

40) You've built a PC on your own

41) Tainted Love, and the memories that go with it

42) You bought me that blue and white plastic truck

43) The ice cream cone/my lap/car catastrophe

44) You helped make pledge weapons for GGDT

45) We went to Mardi Gras together and you didn't break up with me

46) You take care of me when I've had too much to drink

47) You handle the household finances beautifully (better than me, anyway! :-) )

48) You let me be a child

49) You let me have the nicer motherboard

50) You let me drink your Red Bull when I'm out of caffeine

51) Happy Straw Dance!

52) Sunday night walks back from Red D

53) Dog arm!

54) Whales Alive

55) New York Seltzer

56) You haven't killed any of our friends yet

57) You dressed up as Zoe for the New Year's shindig

58) You dress oh-so-sexy for 'Con

59) You have the most beautiful hair in the world

60) ...coming out of the most beautiful head

61) Ni havas stelojn!

62) You're the other Pauly Shore fan

63) We're the best Taboo team on the planet! "I'm an orange."

64) You play Cyberpunk

65) You love of roller coasters

66) You make me truly, deliriously happy

67) You keep me grounded when I'm losing my mind

68) You kill spiders for me

69) You buy me maze books

70) You know "what is best"

71) Sleep photos!

72) Your Girl Songs/Boy Songs tape

73) You laugh at my Stanley Spadowski moments rather than hitting me

74) You fully appreciate the magnitude of a googol, and can speak on the subject at length

75) Memories of you bungie cording your car into 5th gear

76) You keep me from oversleeping (too much) in the morning

77) You help me build roller coasters in the living room, and take joy in the end result

78) Your absolute, unwavering loyalty to those whom you love

79) Your weekly "Happy Friday!" SMS messages

80) You prefer Macs (you knew I had to include that!)

81) The love I see in your eyes when you look at me (when you're not mad... ;-) )

82) Your willingness to be "protected" by a quadruple-amputee plastic soldier

83) The "Dark Life" you lead

84) We have our own private alphabet!

85) "Im Neon-sonnenschein fang ich dir deine WŁnsche ein"

86) You were okay with me painting a room black

87) The way you smell like ozone when it's hot out

88) You have a knack for cryptography

89) You let me call you things like Edzino and OCODAK

90) You let me spell your name "Khymbhurrlie"

91) Your "Happy 4:30!" phone calls

91) Your job involves liquid oxygen, and a place called the "Metals Lab"

93) You gave me my Alcor paperwork

94) We shared a Jurassic Park obsession

95) ...and a vampire obsession

96) Your interest in geeky things like Morse Code :-)

97) Ice fights!

98) You're nocturnal by nature

99) You make my life oh so much more fun!

100) 10 years ago today you became my wife

Happy anniversary, Love. I love and adore you- infinitely and forever.

Wow. That was easy! :-)

From: Boing Boing

Hypothetical and awesome US stamps

Cory Doctorow: On the Worth1000 photoshopping contest: things you'd like to see on US stamps. I'm inordinately fond of plane-crash infographics as shown here, and also the Brady Bunch set, but there's tons more here to love. Link

From: Boing Boing

Hacker-con videos: "150 hours of hardcode nerd education."

Cory Doctorow: Videos from the Chaos Communication Congress, a hacker con, are online -- Tim Pritlove calls this "150 hours of hardcode nerd education."
The 22nd Chaos Communication Congress (22C3) is a four-day conference on technology, society and utopia. The Congress offers lectures and workshops on a multitude of topics including (but not limited to) information technology, IT-security, internet, cryptography and generally a critical-creative attitude towards technology and the discussion about the effects of technological advances on society.

The Chaos Communication Congress is the annual congress of the Chaos Computer Club e.V. (CCC). The Congress has established itself as the "European Hacker Conference" bringing in people from all over Europe and even further away.

Link (Thanks, Jake!)

From: Boing Boing

"Suspect" jackets, in style of FBI/police raid jackets

Xeni Jardin:

Link, $35 plus shipping. (Thanks, Robb)

From: Boing Boing

Total eclipse as seen by astronauts on the ISS

David Pescovitz:
 Sseop Images Esc Small Iss012 Iss012-E-21351
From NASA's Earth Sciences and Image Analysis site, this photo was taken by the Expedition 12 crew aboard the International Space Station:
The International Space Station (ISS) was in position to view the umbral (ground) shadow cast by the Moon as it moved between the Sun and the Earth during the solar eclipse on March 29, 2006. This astronaut image captures the umbral shadow across southern Turkey, northern Cyprus, and the Mediterranean Sea. People living in these regions observed a total solar eclipse, in which the Moon completely covers the Sun‚€™s disk. The astronaut photograph was taken at approximately 2:00 p.m. local time. The terminator of the eclipse‚€”the line between the light and dark parts of the Sun‚€™s disk‚€” is visible as it passes across central Turkey. This total solar eclipse is the fourth to have occurred since 1999. The portion of the ISS visible at image top is the Space Station Remote Manipulator System.
Link (Thanks, Paul Saffo!)

From: MAKE Magazine

Web lectures on electronic circuits

Img M337
Andrew writes - "Bob Brown of Southern Polytechnic State University has a neat series of Web Lectures on electronic circuits that describe electronics from simple electric circuits, through combinational circuits. The circuits are emulated using Javascript functions, which make it feel like you are interacting with the circuitry itself." - Link. [Read More] [Comments]

From: Random Good Stuff

2007 Simpsons Movie Trailer

It's just a teaser ....

From: MAKE Magazine

Homemade PC Tech Station

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Christophe writes "After reading your article "Work on your PC -fast- HighSpeed PC tech station", I decided to build my own. It is great for testing components. As you can see, no high tech materials here: mainly from scrap laminate boards, wood and aluminium profile and even a Tic Tac box ! It can be improved but this one cost me to build under $ 10.00 USD." - Link.

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From: MAKE Magazine

Egg drawing sharpie-wielding programmable robot

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MAKE Flickr photo pool member Escher_47 has some great photos from Bruce Shapiro's sharpie-wielding programmable robot at Maker Faire 2006 - Link.

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From: MAKE Magazine

HOW TO - Build your own band aid fuel cell

Image 15
Build a Fuel Cell with a couple of Band Aids, an MEA and a few scraps of stainless steel bug screen by Gavin D. J. Harper.

The story as to how this design came into being is probably a little too much information, but worth sharing none the less. Having spent some time playing with Fuel Cells on the bench, I went to the bathroom with the quote from Lawrence Burns, the GM vice president for research and development ringing through my ears...

"The fuel cell, offers a cure, not a Band-Aid."

Looking around the room, my eyes clapped on a box of Band Aid, suddenly it dawned on me that the Fuel Cell could indeed offer a band aid.

This has got to be THE simplest way to build a fuel cell from scratch. The design is ridiculously simple, whilst being effective - it will allow you to explore the concepts of Fuel Cells in a ludicrously simple way.

It might sound preposterous, it might sound absurd, but it works!

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From: Boing Boing

Julian Bleecker's blobjects manifesto: "Why Things Matter"

Xeni Jardin: Snip from "A Manifesto for Networked Objects" by USC prof Julian Bleecker, subtitled, "Cohabiting with Pigeons, Arphids and Aibos in the Internet of Things."
The Internet of Things has evolved into a nascent conceptual framework for understanding how physical objects, once networked and imbued with informatic capabilities, will occupy space and occupy themselves in a world in which things were once quite passive.

This paper describes the Internet of Things as more than a world of RFID tags and networked sensors. Once “Things” are connected to the Internet, they can only but become enrolled as active, worldly participants by knitting together, facilitating and contributing to networks of social exchange and discourse, and rearranging the rules of occupancy and patterns of mobility within the physical world. “Things” in the pervasive Internet, will become first-class citizens with which we will interact and communicate. Things will have to be taken into account as they assume the role of socially relevant actors and strong-willed agents that create social capital and reconfigure the ways in which we live within and move about physical space.

Link to PDF (via Bruce Sterling)

From: MAKE Magazine

Learn about physics from Walter Lewin (videos) - more links

Jake writes - "Thanks for the link to the MIT physics lectures. The unfortunate part is that they only let you stream the videos, unless you go through and edit each link with an MIT server instead of an Akamai server. This gets tiring after 100 files or so, so after I altered every single link, I posted the collection on my blog so that anyone may download the videos without having to tediously duplicate the work." - Link. [Read More] [Comments]


Post-it Decor

From Apartment Therapy, here’s a cool idea on decorating with post-its. The texture is actually pretty cool, you must admit. And apparently they say they haven’t fallen off yet. Still, I think I’d get myself in trouble using these for to-dos. Nick Senzee is membership director of a professional design society in the DC metro area. [...]


The Top 10 FAQs Investors Asked Us

Chris Campbell shares on his experience on his meeting with VCs and angels - What they ask and what they really want to know. This is good information to equip yourself with answers of all 10 questions before go and present your ideas:

  • Who else have you spoken to?
  • How will you make money?
  • How will your company grow?
  • What technologies do you use?
  • How easily can you be copied?
  • Can we see the demo?
  • Who are your competitors and how are you better/different?
  • Who are your customers?
  • How will you spread the word about your product?
  • What will your market penetration be?

Looking at the pattern of the questions, we see they are interested on the following topic: Ideas, management, revenue models, technology, competition, customer, marketing. Get them right with attractive answers, you will get your prize from investors.

The Top 10 Questions Investors Asked Us - [Paticletree]

From: MAKE Magazine

Homemade air conditioner

Here's another homemade air conditioner using an old fan, copper tubing and cooler with ice water - Link.

Other homemade air conditioners - Link.

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From: Boing Boing

Farecast predicts when plane tickets will be cheapest

Cory Doctorow: John Batelle has a great writeup of a new service called "Farecast" that uses historical pricing data from the airlines to predict what the best time will be to buy a given plane-ticket. The service is in private Beta right now and only works for Seattle and Boston, but they're promising a full launch later this year with all cities covered. Man, I so need this -- I fly all the time and I get royally screwed by the airlines.

What Farecast does is shift the power of information back into the consumer's hands, and that's why I like it. I remember when the web was young and the first car buying sites were up and running. Dealers scrambled for that early business, and I bought two cars off the web by forcing dealers in the Bay Area to compete for my business. It really felt like the web was going to change the dynamic of who was in charge in a car buying transaction - because I could force dealers to their best price, I was always going to get the best price. It felt like this would be the model in most large transactions, like travel, loans, etc. Price would stabilize, and folks would differentiate on service, relationship, and approach.

But something funny happened on our way to internet mediated bliss: the big companies figured out how to game our demand. Dealers realized they can make more profit if they cooperate and withhold pricing information from the aggregators, and the aggregators got into bed with the supply side of the equation (if you think AutoByTel or Expedia is on your side, you're kidding yourself). Nowhere is this more true that in how an airline prices its tickets.


From: Cool Tools

Dexter-Russell S496


I would like to suggest the Dexter-Russell S496 Dough Scraper as a cool tool for the kitchen. Although designed specifically for the bread baker, this is a low-tech tool that is absolutely indispensable in the
kitchen. In addition to using it to scrape bread dough off the counter, we use ours to transport all manner of chopped food from counter to bowl, counter to skillet...

There are other dough scrapers out there, but this one, with its wide wooden handle is the best (IMHO.) Don't take my word though--I was in a local Sur la Table (kitchen store) recently and they had various bins of Dough Scrapers--the Dexter bin was empty!

-- Mark D. Esswein

Dexter-Russell S496
Available from Amazon

Manufactured by Dexter-Russell

From: Goto Reviews

6 in 1 Keyring Tool by Swiss Tech


At first glance, this keyring tool looks just like any other key. When you open it up, you‚€™ll find that it‚€™s actually 6 tools in 1. Here‚€™s what it contains:

  • straight knife blade
  • a serrated cutting surface
  • a micro-sized screwdriver
  • a Phillips screwdriver
  • an eyeglass screwdriver
  • bottle opener

The whole thing weighs in at only 0.5 oz, so you won‚€™t notice it among your other keys. While well made, the Utili-Key is not suitable for heavy duty tasks. Swiss Tech also offers an 8 in 1 keyring tool.

It's available from Amazon for $6.29.

Via: Survival Today

From: Boing Boing

Fairy-doors set into the sides of Ann Arbor's buildings

Cory Doctorow: Many of Portland, Oregon's Ann Arbor, Michigan's buildings sport "fairy doors" that are just a few inches high, set unobtrusively into their facades. These doors appear to be purely ornamental (or, possibly transdimensional gateways into the Land of Faery) and this site collects images of them. Link (via Neatorama)


Listen to podcasts in half the time

There are ways to save your time on listening to podcast - either not listen to it at all, or make it play faster - Nev shares his tips on saving time on listening to podcast, by increasing the playback speed on Windows Media Player:

‚€œSo, how do you listen to podcasts faster?‚€

The answer: use software that can alter the speed of playback, along with pitch correction. The cool thing about pitch correction is that it enables you to speed up audio without everyone sounding like chipmunks on helium.

I‚€™ve tried a bunch of things (detailed below) and the best software I‚€™ve found for doing this so far is Windows Media Player. Since version 9, WMP has contained an option called ‚€œPlay Speed Settings‚€œ. Go to the View menu, Enhancements submenu and select Play Speed Settings. You‚€™ll now see a slider that can alter the playback speed. Simply slide it around to change the speed on the fly.

At first, and depending on the people speaking, you may only be able to handle a 1.4x speedup. Try that and then, as you listen, gradually ramp up the speed. In no time you should find listening at 2x is quite easily understandable! It only took me one 30 minute podcast to ramp up to this doubling in speed and find it comfortable.

Also iPod has similar option for audiobook in the option menu. You probably need to get used to the speed. Though after a while your ear and brain should get used to the brain and find it digestible and comfortable.

Listen to podcasts in half the time - [Nev’s blog]

From: Boing Boing

Interview with "UFO Hacker" Gary McKinnon: why'd he do it?

Xeni Jardin:

Snip from Nigel Watson's Wired News interview with so-called "UFO hacker" Gary McKinnon, who faces 70 years in prison and a $2 million fine if convicted:

Gary McKinnon: A NASA photographic expert said that there was a Building 8 at Johnson Space Center where they regularly airbrushed out images of UFOs from the high-resolution satellite imaging. I logged on to NASA and was able to access this department. They had huge, high-resolution images stored in their picture files. They had filtered and unfiltered, or processed and unprocessed, files.

My dialup 56K connection was very slow trying to download one of these picture files. As this was happening, I had remote control of their desktop, and by adjusting it to 4-bit color and low screen resolution, I was able to briefly see one of these pictures. It was a silvery, cigar-shaped object with geodesic spheres on either side. There were no visible seams or riveting. There was no reference to the size of the object and the picture was taken presumably by a satellite looking down on it. The object didn't look manmade or anything like what we have created. Because I was using a Java application, I could only get a screenshot of the picture -- it did not go into my temporary internet files. At my crowning moment, someone at NASA discovered what I was doing and I was disconnected.

I also got access to Excel spreadsheets. One was titled "Non-Terrestrial Officers." It contained names and ranks of U.S. Air Force personnel who are not registered anywhere else. It also contained information about ship-to-ship transfers, but I've never seen the names of these ships noted anywhere else.

WN: Could this have been some sort of military strategy game or outline of hypothetical situations?

McKinnon: The military want to have military dominance of space. What I found could be a game -- it's hard to know for certain.

Link. Previous BB posts on McKinnon's case: Link.