Well, that didn’t take long…
Vol 4, the “Crazy for Costumes” issue, of CRAFT is out now. I have a piece in their called “What the Hell is That Thing?,” on weird (but wonderful) crafting tools. The issue looks particularly tasty to me, design-wise. Really nice. And there are all sorts of cool craft coverage and projects, from beaten’ out your own copper buttons to making dresses with plastic bags to stuff on cosplay and other dress-up. But I’m sorry, dressing your pug up to look like a pirate? Well, that’s just wrong.
More “nixie tube” fun, this one a really gorgeous tube clock in a CNC-milled wooden enclosure. The builder has the schematics, layout, BOM (Bill of Materials), firmware, etc. on the site, and is also is making clocks for sale, for US$1,500 each. He says it’s about $190-200 in parts. Not the easiest build, with a lot of surface-mount components, but if you’re up for a challenge… Cool clock!
It’s always annoyed me that the term “jet pack” is used when the device in question is usually, technically, a liquid fuel ROCKET pack. It’s not exactly clear what technology Yves Rossy is using (“Fusionman,” as he’s called when he dons his wings, is tight-lipped on the details), but it *is* clear these are jet engines, four of them. The gorgeous, foldable wings are carbon composite. He has logged some 30 flights with the jet wing and can go for up to six minutes and travel at a speed of 100 knots (over 115MPH).
Being more of a hardware guy, I’m always excited to see what hardware hacks are on display at Defcon (the annual hacking convention), starting with my MAKE colleague Joe Grand’s Defcon badges. This year’s is a swanky, modern number with a matrix of 95 surface-mounted LEDs and two touch-sensitive buttons. The badge uses a Freescale MC9S08QG8 MCU and has provisions on the PCB for a serial connector, an accelerometer, and a ZigBee wireless chip (all of which are available at the con).
Programmer and photographer Dave Bullock has some details on his blog about soldering on a connector and hooking his badge up to a laptop to mod the display code. He also has links to the Wired coverage of Defcon (Dave’s doing the photogs), including images of Joe Grand’s blinged-out “Uber” badge. Show off 🙂
I’ve been meaning to pitch MAKE an article about the basics of how to use a Digital Multimeter (DMM). The manuals that come with most meters appear to be written by electrical engineers, for electrical engineers, and Radio Shack’s “Getting Started” guide on the subject is little better. I so wish, a decade ago, I’d had a tutorial like Lady Ada is constructing on her site. The first installment is on the basics of continuity testing.
Effectively using a DMM is really not that hard, and kind of fun, when it’s explained to you in human-readable language and decent photos. Looking forward to posting about the rest of the series.
Here’s our Street Tech guide to buying a decent DMM.
Here’s an awesome mint-tin hack, a Rougelike game, called Dungeons of Doom, housed in a Penguin mints box.
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.
Steven Manes has a sad-but-true editorial in PC World about the continued crummy state of personal tech “user-surliness,” here in the early hours of the 21st century:
Concepts that seem obvious to those of us who cultivate technical savvy are utterly alien to the nontech majority–with good reason, since most products, services, and technologies aren’t nearly as simple as techies and tech companies would like to believe. Just ask anybody with half a dozen remotes on the coffee table and a spouse who merely wants to watch a pay-cable show–even without the complication of getting it to play through a home audio system.
Read the rest of the piece here.