What’s in YOUR Go Bag?

I have a perhaps unhealthy interest in other people’s stuff. I love going into someone’s home and scanning the books on their bookshelves, looking at the mags in their magazine rack, their stacks of CDs, hell I’d go through their snail mail if that didn’t cross over into creepizoid territory. No, I don’t care to see what bills they have or their personal letters– that doesn’t interest me — I want to see what catalogs they get, what kind of junk mail, what subscriptions they get. I think you can tell a lot about someone, what big and little ideas they trade in, by standing in the path of their media feeds. So I’m (also perhaps unhealthily) attracted to all of the “show us your stuff” type photo sets on Flickr and elsewhere. On Lifehacker, they have another of their “Show Us Your Go Bag” gallery pieces. It’s amazing to me how much crap people carry around. One guy had 52 items in his bag. I thought I carried a lot, in my pockets, belt-clipped, and shoulder-bagged, but I’m a lightweight in comparison.


Gareth “Sits” for Ben Rollman RoboPortrait

Ben Rollman, the robot portraitist we covered earlier, is quick! He’s already done my pic and posted it, with video of him drawing it to follow soon ((Update: Here’s the video). Nice job!

I love how he turned the tables from the original image I sent, a Matt Billings pic of me from Dorkbot DC (seen here) where I’m holding one of MY robot minions. In Ben’s illo, CyborGar toys with a puny human minion. I like the blue borg lenses used to suggest my glasses. Very Molly Millions.

Thanks, Ben!


DIY Atari 2600 Game Labels

Hackszine has a link to a cool Atari game label maker. You just upload your art, game title, and other particulars, and it generates a label. I just made this one with one of my son Blake’s digital paintings. Fun.


Jake von Slatt in the News (Again)

Our pal Jake von Slatt continues with his plans for world media domination, this week getting ye ol’ shout out in Weekly Dig, a Boston entertainment rag. He appears in a piece entitled “Good Bostonians.” I like the way the piece opens: “People suck. Most of them, anyway. Especially around here. Or maybe not…”

And the piece contains some not-so-subtle hints of several of Jake’s next projects, including:

For now, the burner — a hair-dryer-shaped thing made out of pieces of an electric belt motor, an old metal bed-frame, the fuel injector from a BMW and a bunch of scavenged computer parts — is lying in several pieces in the garage. When it’s done, its creator says, it should be able to melt cast iron at 2,800 degrees Fahrenheit.

“I think it will make spectacular flames. And the internet loves spectacular flames,” he says, grinning.

Yes we do. Indeed we do.


Avant Pop Lunchbox

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never grown out of lunchboxes. It’s one of the few reasons I wished I didn’t telecommute to work. I’d love to lug my lunch onto the Metro with one of these jobbies, just a few of the cool pails available for fellow never-grow-up nerds on the go, at lunchboxes.com. They have a great selection of cheap lunchboxes from all sorts of pop and fringe-pop genres, from comic books and movies to music, TV, and cartoons. I may not be able to resist that Too Much Coffee Man box. Doesn’t appear to have a thermos, tho. What a snooze. A TMCM lunchbox that can’t contain caffeine? That’s an existential dilemma worthy of the mughead himself.


The Tesla Gun

Oh man, check out this awesome hand-held Tesla coil, a.k.a. plasma gun. Details:

A Power Pulse Modulator circuit is used to drive two small high voltage ignition coils wired together in an ‘anti-parallel’ configuration. The output is rectified and used to charge the tank capacitor of a small spark gap Tesla Coil.

Cool how they used a cordless drill as the power source, trigger switch, and housing.


Now THAT’S a Freakin’ Jet Pack!

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).


Hacking the Defcon Badge

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 🙂


Own a Chunk of Personal Computer History

Our pal Jake von Slatt sent us this:

When the Boston Computer Society closed it’s doors in 1996 the company I worked for took over their office space.

Since I had been a member, I knew the important role this group played in the early years of personal computing so I cut the logo out of the drywall before the workers arrived to demolish the partitions for our new offices. This sign has hung in my office ever since.

At this point I’d like to replace it with something better reflecting my current mania and would like to give it to someone for which it has meaning.

If that’s you (and you’re in the Boston area) send me an email at jake.[at].vonslatt.[dot].com to arrange pickup.