Of Moognets and Moofobs

If you haven’t heard about Moo Mini Cards yet, they’re 28mm x 70mm (think: half a business card) photocards that have images on one side and brief calling card-like info or other text on the other. Originally designed as a kid’s playful biz card, they’ve really taken off as Flickr photocards. For US$20, you can get 100 cards of your Flickr photostream, with all the images different, if you like. The cards have become very popular on Flickr, with people trading them, photographing them in odd situations, making them into composite images, etc. There’s something very infectious, almost fetishistic, about the small size, the thick card stock, the glossy satin finish, that’s turned them into something of a phenom.

Having all those Mini Cards around has inspired some “Moosters” to make useful, fun things out of them. On Meg Pickard’s blog, she shows you how to make Moognets (ugh), fridge mag Moo Cards, and on Red Mum blog, she shows how to laminate them and turn them into Moofobs, keychain decor.

Flickr Moo Card enthusiast Danielle Blue has morphed her Moofobs (say *that* ten tens) into something approaching jewelry.


Medicine Cabinet Intruder Alarm

Amy Sedaris was on Conan O’Brien last night, promoting her twisted and hysterically funny hospitality book I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence. She offered a great tip, for when company comes, and you want to find out who snoops through your medicine cabinet: Load a bag of marbles into the bottom of the cabinet and shut the door. If anyone opens it, it’ll make a tremendous racket as the marbles bounce into the porcelain sink. She added: “Then you can find out which one of your friends is a thievin’, drug-addicted whore.”


How-To: Skin an iPod Nano

You prolly saw this on Boing Boing already, but since we like collecting the iPod papercraft here at the Labs, I figured it was worth adding to our collection. This is a template for creating your own iPod Nano protective paper cover. If you’re the moths-in-pockets type, this might be a fun no-cost present to give somebody. Print out a whole batch of ’em skinned in cool designs.


Songbird: Mozilla-Based “Web Player”

Have other Street Techies messed around with Songbird yet? It’s a media browser build on a chewy Mozilla center. It’s pretty cool. You can import your iTunes, and other local media libraries, and you can scour the Web for media (music search engines are built in). One of the nifty things it does is, when you hit, say a music blog, it looks for MP3 (and other) audio files on that page and presents them to you as a playlist, below the regular page content, so that playlist sorta becomes a soundtrack to the content you’re reading. If you decide you like a track, you can drag it into your library (and you can subscribe to RSS feeds). It allows you to do many of the things you can do in iTunes. No CD import and burning yet, but it’s coming, as is other extensions. And no, it won’t talk to your iPod.

I sorta don’t know why you’d want a separate media browser, but it’s nice to have an open source alternative to iTunes and Win Media Player. I sorta wish this was just a Firefox plug-in. I bet this would be a dream app if you were a music junkie who spent a lot of time reading the indie music press and blogs and scanning the Web for new music and vids. I like how their bird mascot is always farting. Classy.

The app is cross-platform (Mac, Win, Linux), but only on release 0.2.1, so only for early app adopters.

Here’s an interview that Xeni did with the developers when 0.1 was released back in February.


Review: Kensington Digital FM Transmitter for iPod

My review today on the FM Holiday Gadget Guide is on the Kensington 33185 Digital FM Transmitter/Auto Charger. Here’s a snip:

“When my son and I finally decided to break down and buy an FM transmitter so we could play our iPods in the car, I did what any intelligent consumer would do, I went online to read up on this type of gear and to see what the masses and tech press recommended. I quickly discovered something disappointing about it. In general, it sucks. Everywhere I went, I read tales of poorly designed products, awful-sounding audio, frequently lost signals, and the need to be constantly frequency hopping in search of an open spot when you’re supposed to be… oh I don’t know, DRIVING?”



Awesome Google Lecture Series

I’m an obsessively visual person. Draw me a picture and I’m ten times more likely to remember something than via any other form of learning. As a result, I’ve always loved video tutorials on things and have been loving the explosion of geek vidcasts, video how-tos, and the large numbers of keynote addresses and lectures that are finding their way online. This weekend, thanks to Lifehacker, I discovered Google TechTalks, a lecture series that Google does on their corporate campus and has made available via Google Video. While there are lots of presentation on Web technologies and other related subjects (e.g. the business of the Web), there are also some really cool science and art talks, such as one on the Archimedes Palimpsest, a collection of Archimedes’s work that was found hidden underneath a 13th century prayer book (monks repurposed the parchment by painting over it). Efforts to restore the original manuscript are yielding never before seen works by the great Greek philosopher and scientist.


Mind Your Own Damn Power!

I’ve been seeing a number of articles recently on the power that is drawn from dongles, battery/device chargers, power supplies, and the like, even when they’re not actually in use. Cumulatively, it’s not an insignificant amount. The Mini Power Minder (US$15) is a surge-suppressing and “smart switch” outlet designed to address such issues. Plug a power strip into the bottom socket and when you turn off your computer, a USB connection to the Mini Power Minder tells it to shut off the bottom feed (killing power to all the peripherals, chargers, and anything else that’s plugged into the connected power strip). We’ve had several pieces here on Street Tech about building your own power-switching relay, but at $15, this is a cheap out-of-box solution.


More on the MAKE Open Source MP3 Player Kit

We’re psyched about all of the cool kits that MAKE is releasing for the holidays, especially the open source MP3 kit, the Daisy. If you haven’t gone to Raphael Abrams’s site yet, here’s the link. He’s Daisy’s creator. Hopefully, as the kit gets sold and projects made, he’ll have more application content on the site. Right now, you can download Daisy’s PDF manual, source code, and schematics. After the jump is the parts schematic showing the layout of everything on the PCB.

You may be unaware of the fact that Raphael has several other, cheaper, open source MP3 kits available. The Sakura, “The World’s Simplest Open Source DIY MP3 Player” is here ($72) and the Super Simple MP3 ($72) is here. These are more complicated to build and less user-friendly than the Daisy, but cheaper, much smaller, and may serve you better if you’re mainly interested in embedded type applications.

I can’t wait to see how all of these players get hacked and what sorts of cool cases and mods people come up with.


How-To: Make a Laptop Stand

This Flickr set shows how Suh-weet! (love that Flickr handle) turned a US$2 metal CD rack from IKEA into a stand for her iBook. Unfortunately, they apparently don’t sell this rack at IKEA anymore. You could probably find something similar. There’s always the “cooling rack hack,” but that won’t raise your laptop… er… MOBILE screen/keyboard like this will.

[Via DIY:happy]


Word on the Street: Very Low Food Security

Very Low Food Security – This, ladies and gentleman, believe it or not, is the new government euphemism for “hunger.” This is how we got rid of hunger in America. We renamed it.

Saw this on the news tonight and thought it deserved a “Word on the Street” all its own. Those who drafted this Ag. Dept. report and coined this abomination really deserve to choke on their chalupa and die. For more information, see my old STIM piece: “This Shit Doesn’t Stink, It Exceeds the Odor Threshold.”