Bleep Labs’ Thingamagoop: A cool analog synth critter

It seems like every holiday season there’s some new toy music character thingy, some strange looking robo-alien-critter that plugs into your PC or iPod and dances to the music, or flashes lights, or allows you to play it for sound effects. I’ve always seen these as the kind of present parents blow decent bread on and the kids find exciting on Christmas day at least, but it’s long forgotten by the time the National disco ball lands on the New Year.If this sort of electronic noisemaker is your idea of a good time, here’s one that just might not suck (and might teach your kids a thing or two about analog synthesizers and electronic music).

[Read on…]


From Boob Toobs to Interwebs: Rerouting Your Feed

I am *this close* to canceling my cable account and moving to all Net-delivered media. I’ve already canceled HBO and get my fix of their programming via the Web. And I don’t watch much mainstream TV anymore anyway, and never anything (besides the evening news) in real time.

So I was interested to see this Lifehacker Hack Attack piece on “Six Ways to Catch Your Favorite TV Shows.” Of the six, Miro (formerly “Democracy”) is my fave.


Temporarily Turn Your PC Into a Home Theater

From Lifehacker:

Windows/Mac/Linux: Temporarily turn your computer into a home theater with the GeeXboX live CD. All you need to do is drop the GeeXbox CD into your drive and restart. When you are done with GeeXbox, remove the CD, restart your computer and you will return to your existing operating system. Originally created just to play DivX videos, GeeXboX can now play virtually any file format you throw at it. GeeXbox has extremely low requirements and can be used to turn an old computer into a media center. Linux users who don’t have the libdvdcss2 codec installed can boot into GeeXboX and watch DVDs without any setup. GeeXboX is a free download for Windows, Mac and Linux.

Get GeeXboX here.


Return of the Mix Tape… er Sorta

I miss the mix tape. Maybe it’s that time in my life that I actually miss, but it was an exciting time, of new music, and new possibilities of where that music might take me. And there were parties. Lots and lots of parties. And dancing on the waves generated by these tapes till our feet blistered or the sun came up (whichever came first). I even put out a copy of my late ’80s/early ’90s zine, Going Gaga, on a cassette tape. And then, of course, there were all of the painstakingly-coded Basic programs loaded onto my Radio Shack portable cassette player/storage drive. Ah, good times. Good times.

So, you’ll excuse me if I got all verklempt when I saw this cassette tape-packaged USB drive. The next time I wanna woo a woman, I am SO putting my hearfelt woo-age on one of these babies. Modern English, I’ll Stop the World and Melt with You, here we come! C30 C60 C90 Go!


Here’s the Iron Man Trailer

Make Mine Marvel has a link to the much sought-after Iron Man trailer, obviously taken by somebody in the audience at Comic-Con. Not the best quality, but it’ll give you a taste. Apparently, Comic-Con attendees were pretty jazzed by the Iron Man presence at the Con. And Paramount is apparently not that jazzed by the leaking of the trailer onto YouTube — or maybe playing wack-a-mole with the trailer postings is just another guerrilla marketing strategy. I spent close to a half hour trying to find this clip and felt like I’d really accomplished something when I’d scared it up (which may no longer be up by the time you take the link). And thus, the game continues.


DIY Currency-Circulation Tracking

Remember when your momma used to tell you: “Wash your hands after touching that money. You don’t know where it’s been!” Well, now you can reply: “I do so! Let’s see: it first showed up in Dayton, Ohio, five years ago, at a Sonic drive-thru, then it headed south, then west, spending a lot of time being handed around amongst Texans. It was even found on the floor of a Dallas strip joint!”

Okay, maybe momma was right. Go wash your damn hands!

Such is the circulation tracking fun to be had at Where Is George?, a volunteer currency tracking system where participants who find bills with “Track this bill at” stamped on them can log on, find the history of the bill (by entering the serial number), and record the circumstances of finding it themselves, before re-releasing it into the wild.

This morning, on the DC Metro, I was feeding a dirty dollar into the farecard machine when I noticed such a stamp. I yanked the bill back before that money-grubbing, ticket-dispensing robot got its steely grippers on it, took the bill to my computer and looked it up. It started out life (as a marked bill, anyway) two years ago, in Honolulu, Hawaii. The sender wished a fond “mahalo” to the next recipient. It hadn’t been tracked since, so I took my Pacific island thank yous, added my own info to the record, and finally feed it into the hungry farecard machine on my way home. I will definitely keep an eye on the bill’s log to see where it shows up next. It’s weird, with all of the money that mindlessly passes through my mitts, I’m now strangely invested in one shabby dollar that I fond a long way from home. Mahalo, George!


ToM Sucked Under by Giant Squid, Ectoplasmosis Emerges

The diaspora of writers from Wired’s Table on Malcontents blog is complete as the plug is pulled and John Brownlee and Eliza Gauger make the leap to their new home ectoplasmosis, where the tentacular weirdness is sure to continue. They describe ectoplasmosis as “a wonder closet of fringe art, culture, and ephemera.” Sounds like fun to me. But will we see Cthulhu Cthursdays? I mean, how else are we going to learn about things like the Cthulhoid Case Mod or Cthulhu Kitty?


Make and Mark on Jimmy

In case you missed it last night, Make, the Maker Faire, and Mark Frauenfelder were on Jimmy Kimmel last night. Makezine has a link to the clip (50 MB MP4). Really sweet. So cool to see Mark getting the much deserved recognition. And that’s his daughter Sarina on the cover too.


It’s Time to Play Stevenote Bingo!

Another Jobs Keynote (a.k.a. a “Stevenote”), another exciting game of “Keynote Bingo!” If you haven’t played before, try it, it’s fun! To play, you simply print out the PDF bingo card found at Ars Technica, or use the ones created with the WWDC Bingo program (with 100 word/phrase options). And then, follow one of the liveblogging feeds tomorrow, Monday @ 10am Pacific (or listen to streaming audio if you’re able), or wait and watch the full video when it’s posted. Then, you mark words/concepts as St. Steven utters ’em and terrorize your cubicle-mates when you scream “bingo!” after you connect a row. If you’re at WWDC, you’ll want to use the app version, which creates different cards, otherwise, you’ll all shout out “bingo!” at the same time. And that’s no fun at all.